Birthday weekend for mom

I realize it’s pretty late to be recapping last weekend but I’m going to do it anyway because (a) these are my favorite posts to read and write and (b) my sister loves feeling in the loop with the family goings-on.  So.  This past weekend we went to visit my parents to celebrate my mom’s birthday.  I thought we were going to have to cancel because P got a GI bug last week that was annihilating him but he turned a corner on Saturday.  Thank goodness.  Poor baby was trying his best to be happy but it wasn’t pretty.  In true “when it rains it pours” fashion, he also took a big spill and got a goose egg unlike any other I’ve seen on his head.  Sometimes life is a doozy packman.  Might as well learn it when you’re young.


Annnyway, we made it to their place in time for lunch, so I threw their fridge contents in a bowl. Spinach, strawberries, avocado, and fried eggs.  Topped in EVOO and TJ’s balsamic glaze.

P grubbed too.


Blueberry goatee.

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We were supposed to head into the city (SF) for dinner on Saturday night but I cancelled the reservations on Friday because (at the time) P was still ailing.  He had 3 am wake-ups the two nights prior and lots of blow outs that required full baths so I wasn’t really in the mood to make a big fuss for a date night.  Still, we took advantage of my parents staying home to watch him and went out for a bite at Roam (it’s minutes from my parents’ house).  We’ve gotten take-out from this place before but it’s more fun being in the scene.


In addition to the sweet potato fries I got a bison burger with a fried egg on a GF bun.  I also got extra herb mayo on the side.


Kyle got the “French & Fried” which has fries IN the burger!

It was an early night for us though, and I’m glad it was because P woke up (again) in the middle of the night.  As much as I’d love to have a nice full night of rest, I really and truly love snuggling with him in the dark.  He’s such a love bug and it melts my heart that I get to share those precious moments with him.

Per our Sunday tradition, we went for a family run around the neighborhood.

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After everyone else got up and I fed P his breakfast, we all walked to La Boulange for breakfast.

I got an egg scramble and fried potatoes with a decaf soy cafe au lait.


Pattycakes ate a second breakfast (making up for lost time after that GI bug!) and swiped much of the fruit on the table.


The fountain outside was a big hit for the water baby.

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Think he gets enough love and attention?


After his morning nap my parents worked on the yard and the rest of us supervised.  My mom showed P her garden which is a way more massive version of ours and not long after it was

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Eventually we lunched.


And then dipped in the pool!

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The pool was 78 degrees!! It took patty-cakes some time to warm to the situation but he was into it once he started splashing.

Just a nice lazy Sunday.

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Little man boycotted his afternoon nap so he and Kyle played with the dogs while I made my mom’s birthday brownies.

I used coconut oil and 2 eggs, but when I poured it into the pan it didn’t seem like very much batter.  Hmmm…

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Afternoon apps!

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My dad BBQ-ed for dinner.  The dogs helped.

Then we sang happy birthday!

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And about those brownies…

Ummmm…”crunchy” is how I’d describe them.  It was impossible to cut and serve out of the pan (without a chainsaw that would ruin the pan), but after I pried the first bit out, I was able to grab the entire thing in one piece.  The edges were hard (but still edible), while the middles were soft.  I don’t think I’d make glutino brownies again, but we all went back for seconds so that says something, right?

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Breakfast: a man with a hat (aka eggs with spinach and Canyon Bakehouse toast with avo)

Lunch: salad with leftovers

My sister stopped by to play with her ‘phew for a bit before his nap so she got to see his walking skills in person.  I spent the afternoon running very important errands (See’s candy and WF) and shopping (Old Navy).

Kyle was away for a business dinner and my dad was spending the night at the vineyard (my grandpa just got out of the hospital) so it was just the girls for dinner.


Melon is soooo summer.

P devoured 1/4 of the melon in 3 seconds flat before doing a complete 180 and shunning it like I was trying to poison him.  Such a bizarre thing to watch.  But it left the rest for our salad.


Yup, it’s the butter lettuce, avocado, cantaloupe salad with poppyseed dressing.


With chicken to call it a meal.  My sister joined us after she got off work and we all had a nice relaxing time chatting over fresh summer fare.  Mmmm…

I waited til Kyle got back to dig into the brownies for dessert.  Naturally we finished them all off.

Tuesday morning we hit the road early (P woke up at 4 am anyway) and it was back to the grind.

But now it’s already another weekend and we have big plans to soak up this 100 degree weather.  🙂

The latest food discoveries

Baby (food) post coming ‘atcha.  If you have no interest, just close the browser.

Here are a few new tricks and trials I have to share…

-I’ve discovered a way to make apples (and hard/unripe pears) the perfect consistency for P to eat without the work of cooking them.  I just chop the fruit and freeze it (raw).  Once it’s been frozen for at least a day, I thaw it and voila!  It’s soft and semi-mushy and I can feed it to him straight away.  I have frozen fruit for two months and it still works, but I tried it with only one night of freezing and it wasn’t quite soft enough so I think anything longer than 24 hours is ideal. I first discovered this because I was trying to save a bunch of apples I got for cheap before they went bad.  Turns out, it was one of the most useful mistakes I ever stumbled upon. Apples are now a huge fave – almost as much as bananas!

-I got the nerve to try hemp and it was totally fine.  After the success with chia seeds, I was pretty sure hemp would be fine as well.  The more I read up and learn about sesame, the more I’m convinced they are in their own category when it comes to allergens and we shouldn’t punish all the seeds, if that is in fact the case.  I have yet to test sunflower, pumpkin, or flax yet.  Baby steps.  For now, I’m just happy that we have another vegetarian protein source that he tolerates!  It also makes the breastfeeding weaning process a little less anxiety-filled since I now have a milk alternative that I feel good about offering him (since dairy, soy, and nut milks are all allergens).  He’s fine with water, but ideally something with protein would be good too.  He hasn’t tried it as milk yet [update: yes he has] , so we will see how (if?) he takes to it [success].  Pretty much the only way he’s had hemp so far is in his oatmeal (hulled with fruit and cinnamon).

-I’m dipping into my freezer stash of breast milk and making purees and such with it.  I was waiting until he showed some interest in smooth textures since he wasn’t a fan of it at all before.  But the pouches that we used on our trip may have turned the tide in our favor.  Fortunately I had some reusable pouches to fill with my own creations.  The first thing I tried was a breastmilk, prune, apricot, pear, cinnamon concoction.  I let the dried fruit soak overnight in my pumped milk (that had been frozen then thawed).  I used just enough milk to cover the dried fruit so it got all soft.  Then I pulsed it in the bullet until it was fairly uniform in consistency.  Then I spooned it into the pouch and refrigerated it until we needed it.  The next day I had to run out around noon and figured it would be the perfect thing to give P – enough oomph to hold him over for a while.  He loved it and it worked like a charm.  I had extra that I added to oatmeal, which he also lapped up with enthusiasm.  I’ve since done a number of dried fruit mixes and they’ve all been winners.

The bigger bags of milk get divided…half to the bottle, half to the bullet…



If it doesn’t all fit in the pouch I just stir the extra into oats or quinoa or something.

If anyone has tips for making broccoli and beans enjoyable, please share!  I can sometimes sneak a bit of broccoli into avocado bites, but he’s pretty savvy at separating the foods he doesn’t like from the ones he does in his mouth and then spitting only the “yucky” portion out.  Sneaky guy!

What I ate…a long time ago

Last week I took photos of my whole day of eats – something I rarely do anymore – and then I just forgot about it.

But they were good meals worth sharing so I’m posting them now because it’s food related and this is a food blog!


It’s pretty atypical for me to have oats in the mornings nowadays, so this creation is more of an anomaly than the norm.  I was in the mood for peanut butter but I used sunbutter instead because I’m still nervous about eating nuts when I’m around P.  Even though I’m super careful it’s still scary.  It also had coconut and cinnamon for days.

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My lunch featured Quorn chik’n tenders which are easy to have in the freezer for random protein emergencies (because we all have those?!?! what??).  Anyway, I was in the mood for a salad with some oomph so I thawed some chunks and kinda worried they’d be weird.


They looked like chicken with freezer burn, but tasted shockingly good!  The ingredients list isn’t short, but despite appearances, it’s all decent.  It’s actually mostly egg protein, and yet it doesn’t taste eggy at all.  I liked it more than gardein and many other mock meats.


I tossed it with steamed kale, coconut chips, and tamari – a quickie take on this salad (again).


My afternoon boost was green – thanks to the frozen spinach.  The rest of the smoothie had coconut milk, frozen banana, nutribiotic vanilla rice protein powder, and ice.

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Dinner was more kale (I can’t get enough lately) with salmon.


I definitely phoned it in with this meal, but sometimes you need simple ones to balance out the more time consuming ones.  I know which days are going to be busier in advance so those days are the ones that I bust out the crock pot or turn to big salads.  Kyle loves kale salads too so it’s a win win.


This one had kale (massaged with olive oil and avocado), quinoa, and white beans.  I used canned salmon from TJs so it was ready in minutes.

P still refuses to have anything to do with beans.  It’s breaking my hippie heart.  🙁  I’ll just keep trying…


Kyle and I finished off his birthday cake while watching Girls.  We flew through all 3 seasons in a matter of days.  Now it’s on to the next season of Mad Men that I saw just popped onto our Netflix queue.  Woo hoo.

My highlights: weeks 11 & 12

We finally have internet (FOURTH Comcast visit since moving…sooo…third time is not the charm).  Meaning this post is semi-current!  [Depeding on how long it takes me to write and publish]

Where to begin!  It has certainly been a crazy April.  But I have to back up to the end of March first.  When we said goodbye to our (rental) house and moved 2 minutes south.

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We moved here when P was a mere 3 months old and now look at him!  Almost walking and ready to take the world by storm.


I was in a salad for lunch phase – the above has kale, goat cheese, avo and strawberries and the below has spinach, dried cranz, carrots, avo, and goat cheese.


I had several others very similar to these always with a snacky carb on the side, like chips, crackers, or rice cakes.


No such thing as moderation when it comes to Costco bags of tortilla chips.  They are freakin’ addicting as all hell.  Damn you salt.  Why you gotta taste so good!


Despite appearances, he is NOT stuck in this photo.  He enjoys crawling over the non-door side of his car so much that he stops half way over and plays with the balls that go in the holes.  Upside down.  NBD.

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I went home for a day to honor my favorite teacher (turned vice principal) who won the Citizen of the Year award in my hometown.  I can think of NOBODY more deserving.  She is truly the essence of everything good and she radiates love and warmth while keeping rambunctious kids in line.  She left such a huge impression on me that I have stayed in touch with her long since middle school.  I chose her as my sponsor for my Confirmation and she attended my wedding.  I love her and was so happy to attend the ceremony.  It was also a monumental night because it was the first time neither Kyle nor I did Patty-cake’s bedtime routine!  We’d been doing the bottle for a week (started after returning from Oz) and it was going so so.  Luckily, my sister is a pro.  P loves her like crazy and I knew she’d be the perfect one for the job.  And it went great!  He cried a bit but not much and then slept through the night while I wined and dined with my mom at the event.  I had a million different emotions as I left that evening.  Bittersweet for sure.  Baby steps for us both. 

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The next day I drove back to Davis and went to town packing up our house.  Kyle was away for the weekend so it was on me to TCB.  I treated myself to sushi, chocolate and Roscato (the trifecta of my dreams).

By the way, packing with a 13 month old is no easy task!  I had to do it in short bursts while he was occupied or napping and then store everything out of reach.  The first pic is all the contents of our pantry (JUST the pantry!). 

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We decided to got the DIY route with this move (we’ve done so many I feel like a pro), so aside from large furniture we did it mostly on our own. 

I took tons of trips like this.  Car packed, baby in tow.  Thank goodness the houses were close to each other!  It took a lot longer than it should, but not as long as I thought.  Obviously we were not super efficient because I was working around P’s nap and food schedule (as well as my ability to load and unload the car). 


I did the toy room first in the hopes that he’d be self sufficient there so I could get things done, but he found the stairs to be way more entertaining.

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Fabulous.  Baby gate from amazon on the way!


[Empty] home sweet home.

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My last breakfast in the old place – thank goodness for frozen quick breads!

My mom came and helped me on Sunday and we did a TON, including the whole kitchen and mega cleaning.

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Kyle returned on Monday and that’s when sh!t got real.  We spent the first night in our new place and stayed up way too late making towers with empty boxes.


So worth it.  Progress pics…

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Just pinch me. 


Breakfast for the wee one.


Breakfast for mama.

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Then back to unpacking.  That’s pretty much how the past weeks have gone.

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The weather was poopy for a while, but then it decided to be spring for reals and it has been gorgeous ever since.


On the plus side P and I got to rock our raincoats that we bought for Australia but never wore.


Sandal weather.  I love it.


I transplanted my chard from the old place and it seems to be doing okay.  Only time will tell… In the meantime I have sunflowers and tomatoes going strong.


Too many meals were from the WF/Co-op/Nugget prepared foods section and I was just ITCHING to get back to cooking.  Which I have!  And I love!  But can we talk about the fact that the Davis Whole Foods has paleo labeled items?

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Vita unpacked!!!


Looky looky!  The return of tempeh!

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I made this mustard tempeh salad which I plopped on greens.  Then added P’s leftover peas because why not?


It was a totally random dinner but it was quick and easy and that’s all that I cared about since I had a date with the garage shelving unit on the agenda.

The reason I’m back on the tempeh train is because I am no longer nursing P.  🙁


It was a sad day but I have LOTS of breastmilk stored up still so that’s a small comfort – even though I really miss the special one on one time that nursing gave us.

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I gave P some hemp seeds in his oats a while ago and he didn’t have a reaction so I made hemp milk and added it to some other eats of his to see if he liked it (he did).  Then he drank it plain.  So now I’m making it and giving him 50/50 breastmilk/hemp milk in the morning and at bedtime.

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Ordinarily, I wouldn’t go through the hassle of straining it, but the seed particles get stuck in the nipple of the bottle so I use a cheesecloth in a strainer and that makes it all silky smooth. 


He sucks it down like a champ.  


And now I’m in a hemp phase.   I sprinkle some on avocado rice cakes with a bit of nooch…mmmmmm…fave breakfast of the moment.

Parts of Kyle’s birthday weekend

I took pics of the days surrounding Kyle’s 30th, but never shared them!  Never too late to celebrate?


Here’s the young man and his tower of 30 beers.


Kyle requested an al fresco themed birthday dinner, and since it was gorgeous weather it seemed like a brilliant idea.  We hit up the farmer’s market that day and hung out in the park with friends, soaking up the social scene.  It was a taste of what it to come (once the weather finally commits to warmth in entirety). 

The above platter had some old & some new items, including Redwood Hill Farm’s camellia goat cheese (strong and pungent!) with crackers and rice cakes, (home-made) candied walnuts, TJ’s baked green beans, strawberries, and TJ’s prosciutto.  With champagne on the side.  Cheers to three oh.

The next day we headed to my parents’ for the weekend.  I had a lunch with my sister, my mom and some of her friends (who I’ve known my whole life) and P got to meet his new buddy, Jack! 

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Don’t they look like besties already?

I was INCREDIBLY late on account of the most embarrassing jet lag fiasco ever (I was up at 5 am but somehow fell back asleep and didn’t wake back up until 10:30!!).  Yikes.  After running around like a cuckoo bird, I finally made it out the door.  The drive to my hometown is just under an hour so I made it as everyone else’s plates were cleared.  Ha! 


I still ordered a salad anyway.  My sister fed P and I caught up on everyone’s lives.  Luckily everyone was able to hang out for a while so I didn’t really miss too much. 

Later on my sis and I took P for a walk around the res.  Then she headed into work and my mom and I got started on dinner.  Kyle didn’t get home til after I did the bedtime routine (and dinner) so he didn’t get to see the little guy all day.  🙁


But he had a present waiting for him when he arrived so that counts for something!?  Wrapping was done by my dad, FYI.

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We made a simple dinner for the three of us (my parents and myself) since Kyle was in the city for a work dinner.

“Foil chicken” is the most passed around recipe in my family and so I figured I should share it on the blog.  I’ve made it with tofu in the past and it didn’t work as well but I never tried tempeh so perhaps that could work for a vegan option.

Foil Chicken [gluten free, dairy free]


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • dijon mustard
  • oat flour
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 4-8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tbsp tamari
  • 4 tbsp Earth Balance


Lay out four pieces of foil and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse and pat dry each chicken breast.  Spread mustard over surface of chicken and dip both sides in flour.  Place on foil (repeat for each breast).  Top each breast with onions, mushrooms, tamari, and Earth Balance.  Wrap foil tightly around each breast.  Place on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve over rice and/or veggies.


We had ours with brown rice and stir-fried broccoli, zucchini, and snow peas.

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The next morning I worked out while my mom played with P.  Then I made us both breakfast.  Flax4Life has several GF muffins and I’m slowly working my way through all of the flavors.  Last time I was home I had the carrot ones.  I think I like blueberry best so far, but I know they make a chocolate one so let’s be real.

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For lunch I had a few pieces of GF toast with avocado and goat cheese mozzarella.  Canyon Bakehouse bread is maybe the best at replicating wheat bread.  

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For Kyle’s birthday dinner my dad BBQ-ed and my mom made cake.

I made a salsa for the fish with mango, avo, yellow tomato, cilantro, and lime juice.  Guess what wine that is?  Should be no surprise to regular readers.

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The spread!


Happy birthday Kyle!


This is the same cake my mom made me for my birthday, but she made this frosting instead

I love chocolate so much. It was hard to not go back for a second (or third) slice.

We slept in the next day and I went on a run by myself, which ended up being one of my longest runs since having a baby.  It wasn’t anything crazy but I’m starting to feel like I’m getting my endurance back.  Slowly but surely.  There are no races in my future, but I do see distance increases (if I’m being ever so hopeful). 


I made eggs with sautéed spinach that I topped with avocado and a GF blueberry muffin (half of which was eaten while I cooked the eggs). 

We enjoyed NCAA basketball and the sunshine as a family.  Weekends are the best.

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We ate lunch outside (leftovers made into a salad) while P practiced walking all over the yard.  He is getting so good at walking!  Sorry for the surprise photo mom!


We went back home after lunch (timing our drive with P’s afternoon nap) and watched more basketball until dinner.  I made us taco salads.  And definitely had quadruple the amount of chips shown.  So much, in fact, that I didn’t have room for leftover cake.  Now there’s something you won’t hear from me often ever again.  Don’t worry, I made up for it the next night.  🙂

And for those interested in baby travel crap, P has not been adjusting to the jet lag/daylight savings time changes AT ALL.  Rather than post about it (which would come across as a confusing mumbo jumbo with no helpful tips whatsoever), I am just going to address it quickly now.  I’m trying my best to sort it out, but in the meantime we are all in agony, so yeah.  Sleep fail, rock on.