Davis Christmas weekend

Everyone says the holidays are so much better through a child’s eyes but it’s absolutely true.  I feel so cliché, but my first Christmas as a mom was just about the best one I’ve ever had. 


The other cliché about kids enjoying the wrapping more than the actual present is also 100% accurate.  Tissue paper > anything and everything.


Last weekend, Kyle and I celebrated our own holiday with just the three of us here in Davis on Sunday.  Santa came and filled our stockings and we exchanged our gifts to each other.  We decided to go big this year and really spoil ourselves because we both worked very hard in 2013 and we should enjoy the fruits of our labor.


First thing after we woke up, I nursed P and then did Jillian’s Shred.  Then Kyle did the Shred.  And then we coffee-d ourselves up.




I think it’s safe to say, we are chocolate lovers. 

Even though I fully intended on eating sweets for breakfast, I decided to get something more substantial in my belly too.

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I really need to figure out how to use my (new) cast iron skillet because our breakfast hash turned into mashed potatoes and I nearly ruined my pan.  🙁

I was so pissed because I ended up having to use soap and water and scrubbing it rather vigorously (both no-no things for cast iron maintenance).  I re-seasoned it afterwards with olive oil, but I’m scared to use it again now.


On the breakfast menu: Tofurky Italian sausage, eggs, and potatoes.  All fried thankyouverymuch.


Salsa for him.

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After grubbing we watched football and P fell asleep on Kyle.

All that excitement from his stocking alone!  Ha!  He successfully made the transfer to the crib and continued to snooze so we opened some presents in the meantime.


OMG. Yes.

Anyone who knows me knows this kind of torture is right up my alley.  Dear Jillian, I love you and I hate you. 

I can’t even wait to start the body revolution – it has 15 (!!!) DVDs and it designed to be a 90 day program so I’m gonna be set for a while. 


After P woke up I fed him and myself.  My nice well balanced lunch included leftover sushi, chocolate, savory quick bread, mimosa(s), and more chocolate.  Role model, I think so.


Kyle was on board, so at least we were all in the holiday spirit together.


This car took me almost an hour to put together and I was sweating by the end of it but it was SUCH a huge hit.  Patty-cakes was playing in it non-stop for the rest of the day we didn’t even bother opening the rest of his gifts!  Thanks grandma and bumpa!


After P went to bed we had dinner “al fresco” style (lots of nibbles) which had all the usual suspects including olive oil and sea salt roasted almonds, crackers (GF & wheat), assorted artisanal goat cheese, smoked salmon, carrots, and hummus.


Now that peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame seeds are out (and a few other things but I’ll talk more about all that later) we try to eat eat them only when P isn’t around.  Lots of changes around these parts.  I am still taking it all in and processing what this means for our diet as a family going forward. 

Thank goodness for Redwood Hill Farm.  I still feel fancy with my Mary’s Gone crackers and raw milk feta and camellia.  The feta is so salty it’s phenomenal by itself or with a little something sweet (dried fruit!) and the camellia tastes complex and rich, almost like brie.  Kyle actually preferred it to the cow’s milk brie he had (leftover from my parents’ holiday party). 


And that was only part 1!

The next day we hopped back down to the Bay to spend the 24th and 25th with my parents.  Stay tuned…

I gotta stop pushing it these weekends

This weekend was full of relaxing at home.  Thank goodness!


Last weekend I came down with mastitis and was way too ambitious for my own good.  We went to a football game with a couple and their 6 month old on Saturday.  And then traveled to the East Bay for a baby shower on Sunday.


It was really fun, but I my suffer-in-silence-and-just-push-through-it approach completely backfired.  Come Monday I felt like crap and it was just me and pacman left to our own devices.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised by my stubbornness…nobody?  Yeah that’s what I thought.  Typical Elise, in denial about how much resting it would take to conquer mastitis without antibiotics.


Lots of easy food.  Like steel cut oats in the rice cooker.  And Halloween candy (yikes…that spiraled way out of control).  And popcorn.


I just sprayed the kernels with olive oil (using my mister) in a brown paper bag and microwaved until the popping slowed.

It took me until Wednesday to recognize that setting my alarm to work out first thing in the morning was a really bad idea.  Determined?  Or bull-headed?  Oh Elise.

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God bless the crock pot!!

On the left: tempeh braised with figs and port wine over brown rice

On the right: green curry tofu & veggies

The tempeh and fig recipe is from Kathy Hester’s (amazing) book, The Vegan Slow Cooker.

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Napping baby means it’s time to get chopping!


We just re-started our Tobin James wine club membership (it’s been on hold for the past 1/2 year because we were broke) and the shipment came this week.  With port!  Perfect!


The figs were harder to track down because the season is coming to a close.  Neither the co-op nor Nugget market had them.  But the Farmer’s market came through.  So I got a bunch for this meal and for snacking.

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I even had fresh thyme, thanks to the herb stash I took home from my mom’s garden last week.

The only change I made was doubling the amount of tempeh.  Because Kyle and I are pigs.  It was supposed to serve way more than two people but there were no leftovers.


Definitely tasted better than it looks.

This tofu and veggie curry was just as popular for our taste buds.


Guess who finally made it to the Trader Joe’s in Davis!?!

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This thai green curry simmer sauce is one of several awesome products I came home with.  Unfortunately I still have to go to the co-op for a few random things they didn’t have, which is a bummer.  I wish I could do all my grocery shopping at one place.  As it is I already do monthly Costco runs in addition to the weekly co-op trips.  Too much!  I don’t have time for this business!

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I cooked the veggies in the slow cooker (broccoli, yukon gold potatoes, celery, mushrooms) and baked the tofu in the oven.  [I could have thrown the tofu in the crock pot too, but I wanted them to be extra firm and baking them for a long time really gets that dense texture that I like.]  Then I combined them and poured the sauce all over.  Kyle’s was served over couscous, mine was over forbidden rice.


This sauce is great!  Awesome complex flavors with just a bit of a kick.

I finally started to feel a bit better on Thursday, thanks to the newest additions to Netflix (I’m looking at you Sister Wives).  Couch time is good for mama, but boring for baby.

I did manage to get a few park visits and some arts and crafts time in.


These were more of a hilarious disaster than they look.  Rather than press his hand down to make an impression, P kept grabbing the flour dough and squeezing it between his fingers.  In the end I got one decent ornament.  I’ll take it!

FYI, the recipe I used was 1/2 cup flour + 1/4 cup salt + 1/3 cup water.  Flattened into circles with handprint pressed.  Baked for 3 hours at 200 degrees F.

Anyway, like I said before, this weekend was mellow.

Lots of football and park time.

I had peanut buttery oats for breakfast.  Then we went to the farmer’s market to grab some stuff for dinner.


Back at home, I had leftovers for lunch.  I made this hemp pesto earlier in the week, which I added into TruRoots brown rice penne.


I topped it with two fried eggs.

Dinner revolved around this guy…


My sister sent it to Kyle as a congrats, so we did our al fresco thing (minus the outside part since it gets dark way early now).


Milton’s crackers, olive oil roasted almonds, carrots, Fresh N Nova cilantro hummus, Mary’s Gone crackers, grapes, and Redwood Hill Farm goat bucheret cheese.


The highlight for me was the cheese.

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It’s so tall!  I also saw it being made when I toured their facility a few months ago.  So cool seeing it go from fresh milk to curds to a moldy block of cheese to the product in my fridge.

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It says to top it with honey, so I followed the suggestion.  I used the local honey I bought at the Santa Monica farmer’s market.


Oh.  My.  Gahhhhhh.

I could have had this and the bubbly alone.  Okay, that’s basically what I did.  I love snack face dinners.


Sunday started pretty much the same way.  Peanut butter-y steel cut oats.


Daylight savings really effed us because patty-cakes doesn’t really sleep past 7 am anymore.  On the plus side, he is finally starting to nap a little bit better.  I shouldn’t really complain since he still sleeps for 14+ hours.  Uninterrupted.


For lunch I scrambled two eggs and topped them with pumpkin sage cashew sauce (recipe coming).  Mary’s Gone crackers and carrots on the side.


Pumpkin banana smoothie as a snack.  Also, (unpictured) kale chips.  They’re so $$$ but so goooood.

For dinner we made Vicolo pizzas.  I ate 3/4 of the large size making my dinner kcal count in the upper 900 range.  I think I’m going to breastfeed forever.  It’s awesome for my metabolism.

And now that I’ve gotten in all the rest I should have gotten last weekend and my mastitis has seemingly resolved, I’m excited to get back on the fitness wagon this week.  Wahoo!

Me and P

Kinda unintentionally took a little break from the blog. 


I wasn’t overly busy, still doing the same work/parent thing, but I just didn’t feel like writing an (uninspired) post about nothingness so I left the computer off.  And that’s that.  Nothing exciting happened while I was away though.

For dinners:


I made this creamy dijon tempeh casserole dish again.

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This time with 3 blocks of tempeh (I 1 1/2-ed the whole recipe) in an 8×8 casserole dish.  Boom.  Party in my mouth.


That’s taken care of a few dinners/lunches.  Even though the leftovers cause family feuds, it’s still a dish I’ll continue to make again and again.  So.  Good.

And then there were the leftovers of this sweet potato pasta dish.


Still just as good a few days later.


Sushi take-out on the zombie days (post-night shift laziness).


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I’m obsessed with inari.  It’s pretty much my favorite sushi order now and I could maybe (definitely) eat a whole barrel of them.  Who knows what that sweet-ish stuff is that the rice inside has on it? 


For breakfasts:

I’m back on the oatmeal wagon.


After a looooong hiatus (all of pregnancy and several months post partum) from sweet breakfasts, I seem to have returned to my former self. 

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Our crock-pot was occupied (third batch of home-made applesauce), so I made steel cut oats in the rice cooker.

I followed the same water:grain ratio as I would any other grain, but used the porridge setting.  Started it the night before and woke up to perfectly creamy and dreamy oats.  All I did in the morning was give it quick stir and add a splash of almond milk.


Plus molasses, pumpkin puree, and cinnamon.

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It made enough to last me a few days. 


Most days I went the pumpkin route but one day I stirred in a HUGE glob of peanut butter which made breakfast basically taste like a cookie.


And another day my sister was in town (babysitting while I slept after night shift) so I made us matching bowls of oatmeal.  This was on the stove top and used whole rolled oats instead of steel cut ones.  They each had raisins, almond butter, and 1/2 a banana.

For Lunches:

Thanks to this Costco purchase my lunches have been nearly identical for the last month.


Not that it takes much effort to hard boil eggs, but at the rate I’ve been eating them, it’s an ongoing process that takes up time I’d happily devote elsewhere.

Plus they’re organic, inexpensive, and just plain easy.  I got my sister on board.  I bet my dad would be all about it too. 

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Usually eaten while this is going on.


Totally normal.

Can you believe this little monster is over 8 months old?!?


Every day is better than the day before it.  He’s just so much fun.  I can’t get over what a little boy he’s becoming.  Such a happy kid.


We went to a pumpkin patch and out of everything we did (which was a LOT) the highlight of his day was definitely the hay. 


Ladies man.

I just adore spending my days with him.  🙂

Perfect Fall weekend



[Don’t be deceived by this photo, he’s not crawling.  At. All.  He rolls to get everywhere.  He’s surprisingly mobile for only using rolling as a means of travel.  I’m sure I’ll be swallowing my words later but it would be nice if he showed some signs of crawling.  Like maybe contact with the ground.  On the other hand, he’s basically ready to walk since he holds himself up using the coffee table or wall as support…hmmm…tummy time to standing?  Kids are confusing.]


On Thursday my parents came to Davis to visit for a few hours.


It was fun to have them in town on a day that didn’t involve them babysitting while I slept.  I was alert and able to interact without dozing off mid sentence!  Yay!

They treated us to lunch at Bistro 33, a place I’ve been wanting to try for a while.  It’ sin downtown Davis and has outdoor seating which is perfect on days like Thursday.  It was barely crisp and Fall-like, so sitting in the sun felt awesome.

Kyle even managed to ditch work for a couple of hours (a perk of being self employed) and join us.


We “started” with baked goat cheese with sundried tomatoes and parmesan crostini.  I got some without parmesan for me.  And FYI, the reason started is in quotations is because the service is pretty mediocre, so our appetizer only beat out the arrival of our entrees by 30 seconds.  Not amazing timing.  At least it was good.


For my main dish I got the banh-mi style Vietnamese sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries.


The sandwich had grilled portobello mushrooms, asian slaw, and lime chili vinagirette aioli on a fluffy sweet roll.

The aioli was the best part – I would have liked a bit more oomf in the form of tofu or more mushrooms – but it was still a pretty good vegetarian option.


The sweet potato fries were awesome, and it’s a good thing I shared them with the whole table or I would have demolished them all.


Mr. No-Naps (going on day 4) finally fell asleep during the meal so we actually lucked out.


After lunch we strolled through downtown and then onto campus.  We stopped to feed P some banana, because he wasn’t super happy that he missed out on lunch. 

I feed him solid food twice a day (more or less) but I still nurse him the same amount.  It’s a lot to fit into 10 hours (yes, he sleeps for 14 hours…for now). 

In the afternoon my parents headed home and Kyle went back to work so I played with P and made myself a smoothie.  No photo, but it was large and green, with banana, spinach, almond milk, and peanut butter.


For dinner I had this again but topped it with a fried egg.  Delish.


And for dessert I had a few slices of pumpkin gingerbread and maple coated almonds.  The almonds are from the co-op bulk bins and are way too addictive to buy on the reg.  I try to limit myself to one fancy nut per month.  Yes, I could easily make my own, but let’s be real, I’m spread pretty thin these days.  Buying food is what’s happening and I’m making no apologies for it.


Friday’s breakfast was steel cut oats with almond butter stirred in, topped with cinnamon, desiccated coconut, and roasted sunflower seeds.  An oddly amazing combo.


Afterwards I fed P, then we got to playing with a new toy.

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Pre-and post-destruction. 

As strong as he is, I’m thinking it’s the poorly made toy that is the issue because it lasted about 2 seconds in the table position before he tore the legs off it and broke the thing down to parts. 


Lunch!  You all have to know what this is by now since I have shown the same meal on repeat for the past two months.


Kyle and I went different routes for dinner.  He went Mexican with a new awesome ingredient.

I didn’t feel like much, so I landed on tomato soup.  With crackers and chips aplenty.


I had both Amy’s chunky tomato and Wolfgang Puck’s tomato basil.  Both were perfectly salty, complemented with tortilla chips (until they ran out) and then Van’s multigrain GF crackers.

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I felt all sloshy and didn’t even have room for dessert. 

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Kyle’s said the Fresh ‘n Nova hot garlic fluff took his burrito to the next level.  Talk about a perfect Mexican food add in!  Kyle loves garlic so this is basically a spread created for him.


Saturday started way earlier than we wanted thanks to P’s teething issues.  He has been waking in the early morning and no matter what we do or don’t do, he won’t go back to sleep. 

He loves cuddling and it feels so sweet having him on my chest while he sucks his thumb.  I feel his hot breath on my neck and occasional eyelash flutter.  It makes me melt so as tiring as it is, I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.

Oh and PS I made GF pancakes with peanut butter sauce (above) for breakfast after doing level 3 of Jillian’s shred. 

I ate lunch in the car, so no pics, but it wasn’t anything special.  We were en route to Chico for a baby shower.  Doesn’t P look excited to meet his new friend?


He was certainly bonding with the other little girlies at the event.


Until Kev showed up and there was another boy in the running…no worries for my ladies man.




We spent the night at our friends’ house in Chico and got take-out from The RawBar for dinner.  It’s pretty nice having kids the same age because they totally get the whole house-bound-after-8-pm-because-my-kid-is-sleeping thing.

I had a bomb seaweed salad and inari.  And some vino as a night cap while we watched the first two episodes of Top Chef. 


P woke up when we went to bed so that sucked.  It was a two hour battle to get him back to sleep as he wailed on and off.  Yikes. Fortunately he didn’t wake up Kevin, who was asleep in his parents’ room. 


The next morning we went to Tin Roof Bakery and Cafe for breakfast.

I got a decaf with almond milk (free refills for the win) and a massive cinnamon roll.


I only got through half before I felt the sugar crazies coming on so I stopped.


This is Kyle’s pretty almond milk mocha.


We stopped at the park on the way home.  The boys and their boys….awww.


Don’t mind the fact that P’s still rockin’ his pjs.  It was a lazy Sunday.  Who gives?


We made it back in time for the beginning of the first round of football games.  And hung out in Chico ‘til we got to a good break in the games. 

Thanks to the crappy am radio in the middle of nowhere we only had the Raiders game to listen to on the way home.  Whatever.

I worked hard to get pacman to nap on the way home and after he finally dozed off I did the same.  We were a sleepy pair in the back seat leaving poor Kyle to entertain himself.  Luckily the 49ers game came on. 

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We got home around 2 pm and I’m not sure who was the most hungry of the three of us.  Patty-cakes of course got priority.  But as soon as he was done nursing I made myself a quick egg/avo scramble (above) which I bulked up even more with a cheesy sauce of nooch and plain almond milk.  Neon colored pee! 

The rest of Sunday was mellow as we got things squared away for the work week ahead.  I had zero interest in cooking so we got a few different deli salads from Nugget Market on the way home from an evening walk through the neighb.


And that’s the weekend!

The best thing I ate this week

I fell in love this week and ate the same thing 4 nights.  Or at least a variation of the same thing.


It all revolves around this goat’s milk feta by Redwood Hill Farm. 

OMG you guys.  Oh Em Gee.

Truth: I got this sample from the company when I visited their farm a few weeks ago.  It sat in the fridge all this time because (silly Elise) I thought I didn’t like feta.  I’ve never tried feta, so I don’t know why I thought this, but it’s just never been appealing to me.  I think it has to do with the fact that it’s usually in salads/pastas/dishes that I don’t like for other reasons (olives, red onions, and Greek-esque ingredients).  Well I’m sorry it took me so long to figure it out but now I know (a) I love goat’s milk raw feta; and (b) my gut totally tolerates it.  Double win!!


So let’s talk about this dish I created with it.


Doesn’t photograph all that well but dang it was good.  [Obviously it was good, I re-made it three more times!]


Forbidden Feta & Squash Salad [vegetarian, gluten free]


  • 3/4 cups uncooked forbidden rice
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed and roasted
  • ~3-4 oz. goat’s milk feta, crumbled
  • 2 large fists spinach
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 6 medjool dates, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)


Roast squash.

Cook rice as per instructions.  Fold spinach into the warm rice until the greens wilt. 

Add the squash, feta, almonds, and chopped dates.  Stir until mixed, then drizzle with olive oil and add salt & pepper.



This is a pretty flexible recipe.  I’ve used roasted sweet potatoes and delicata squash in place of the butternut.  I’ve tried no greens and kale.  And I’ve tried pecans in place of the almonds.  All taste great.


The way the sweet dates and salty cheese marry in your mouth is pure magic.

So so good.

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If you are lactose intolerant, you MUST find this cheese and make this dish.  It’s so good! 

Forbidden rice is pretty bomb too.