brussels sprouts

Weekend activities and my first recipe with bacon

This past weekend was all kinds of awesome.  We hung out with new friends who I’m certain will become old friends.  P got a taste of his first slip ‘n slide.  I ate a vegan ice cream sandwich that blew my mind.  And we got to enjoy some quality family time before Kyle went away for work.  Summer is his busy season so the sporadic posting often has to do with me being a solo parent while he’s off at random solar sites.
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That’s a separate mexican layered bean dip for the lactose free folks (!!!!).
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We forgot a swim suit but he didn’t care that he was soaking wet.  On the contrary, it probably helped him beat the (100+ degree) heat.
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P helped me harvest  (and eat) the first yield from the garden (green beans!).
I’m happy we are in Davis.  It’s a good place.
Anyway.
I also got to do lots of stuff that others may deem “chores” over the weekend, but they are the kinds of things that make me happy.  In addition to doing our grocery shopping, I vacuum religiously every weekend, and clean the house from top to bottom, while Kyle and P have their boy time (pacman is scared of the vacuum).  I also make hemp milk, quick breads, and prep whatever else.  This especially has to happen when Kyle is going out of town because if I don’t have him to pack meals/cook dinner for I often get lazy and eat whatever (because by the end of the day I’m wiped).  Let’s not analyze what it says about me that I’m willing to put in the extra time to make food for everyone but myself.
So this weekend I made a massive tub of veggie and salmon pasta as well as tuna salad (for quick lunch options).  And I baked a russet and sweet potato.  And I made some overnight oat/chia/seed bowls.  And I made bacon and (the following) brussels slaw salad.  And a batch of decaf chai tea.  Definitely helps to go into the week with a stocked fridge.
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I’ve blogged about this pasta dish before (and made it tons since adding fish back into my diet) because it’s so easy and so good.  I just use whatever veggies I have on hand.  Sometimes I bake the salmon and sometimes I cheat and used canned salmon.  Sometimes I make my own vinaigrette and sometimes I cheat and use bottled dressing.  Either way, it’s good stuff.
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That’s a big freakin tupperware – so the pasta will last for dayssss.
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1 can tuna + 1 can salmon + 2 stalks celery + 1/4 cup dried cranberries + 1/4 cup salted sunflower seeds + 1/4 cup mayo + 2 tbsp dijon mustard + salt + pepper
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Good on a bun or atop greens.
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Happy dance.
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Let’s get back to the recipe at hand.
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Bacon and fig Brussels Sprout Slaw Salad [gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free]
  • 10 oz shaved brussels sprouts
  • 4 slices of bacon + bacon fat (~1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 7 figs, chopped
  • salt + pepper (to taste)
Directions:
For the bacon-
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place foil on a large baking sheet, then line up the bacon slices on the foil.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let rest while you prep the rest of the salad.
For the slaw-
Shave the brussels sprouts (unless you cheated and bought them shaved like I did – yea for TJ’s) and add them to a large mixing bowl.
Fold the foil with the bacon in half, so as to form a little spout, and pour the bacon fat directly into the bowl of sprouts.
Toss until the sprouts are coated in hot oil, then add in the mustard and vinegar and toss again.
Finally add the chopped figs and crumbled bacon and fold until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste.
Try not to die of taste bud spasm.
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Notes:
If you don’t want to use the bacon fat that’s fine you can sub another oil of your choice (olive, canola, etc.) but it’s kinda amazing to infuse bacon flavor all up in the sprouts.  Also the hot oil helps wilt the sprouts so you may need to work another (colder) oil into it a bit more to achieve the same softening effect.
Tempeh bacon, turkey bacon, etc. could be swapped to honor dietary choices.
I used green figs because my friend’s tree is booming with them, but any figs will work – probably dried figs too!
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Sorry I don’t have too many great pics of this, it was DEVOURED by my face.
I’m pretty proud of this recipe because it’s the first one with animal products that I’ve created on my own.  Since meat re-entered our diets, I’ve been sticking to the experts’ recipes (Bon Appetit, Food52, and fancy pants blogs).  This was a solid win.
P likes figs so-so and bacon a LOT.  Dijon mustard is usually safe for people with food allergies, but be sure to check the kind you buy because there can be wheat in some (I know!).  Also, mustard seed allergies do exist (they’re the same family as chia seeds so if you react to one, you’ll likely react to the other) but they are pretty rare.

Quinoa with the works

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I made this the other night and it was so good I had to share.  Sorry about the lack of measurements or precise anything, but I’m sure you can figure it out.

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Inspired by this stuffing (I guess I’m still in winter comfort food mode), I roasted butternut squash, brussels, and apples.

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Then I tossed them with sage and thyme.

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Meanwhile, I had quinoa cooking in the rice cooker (I used vegetable broth instead of water which made a big difference in flavor).

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I added the quinoa to the veggies, then added pepitas and dried cranberries.

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I could eat quinoa bowls like this all the live long day, but Kyle isn’t as big of a fan, so I don’t make them very often.

Seriously, though.  SO.  GOOD.

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The quinoa cooked in broth was what made it taste so much like stuffing.  Mmmmm. 

I had the leftovers the next day with avocado.  Avocado makes everything better!

Omni meal plans

I’ve been keeping up with weekly meal planning for almost a year now – with random weeks off due to travel/holidays/etc..  But for the most part, it’s been a very successful technique in keeping our food budget in check. 

I thought it would be way more expensive once we started including meat, but it hasn’t been too significant of a difference because the marginal increase in animal protein is balanced by the fact that we all eat the same thing (thus, a decrease in overall ingredients).  One meal as opposed to three.  At least for dinner.  I pack Kyle’s lunches and they do contain wheat and dairy and (until we run out entirely) nuts, since he’s not nursing and out of the house when he eats them, it’s no big deal.  Otherwise, we are a communal diet family. 

I slipped up a bit this week because I had some mad tempeh cravings, but otherwise here are the allergy friendly dinners we shared.

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Salmon burgers over a huge salad with TJ’s Caesar dressing.

I called and left a message with Trident Seafoods about their facilities and they called me back and were so helpful!  They are all peanut and tree nut free, and one of their two facilities is sesame and free and the other is not but they still clean it thoroughly between the use of sesame products.  The customer service rep showed me where to look up the ID number of the product (on the bottom of the package) to determine which facility it was made at.  We happened to get a package from the sesame free facility!  And since the package is already labeled as gluten free, we are in the clear.  Win! 

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Kale, quinoa and tempeh Caesar salad.

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I can’t get enough Caesar dressing lately.  TJ’s makes a non-dairy version that’s pretty great.  Unfortunately, it’s not vegan, but at least P was spared one allergen (the tempeh is soy, of course).  From now on I’ll probably nix the tempeh or use chicken instead, but since we are on a budget, I didn’t want to let the tempeh that’s been in our fridge for the past month go to waste.  I’ve been eyeing it for far too long and I finally caved.

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It was so good, but not worth the poor eczema flare P had as a result.  I had thought eating it at dinner and waiting 12 hours overnight wouldn’t be too bad, but I think it takes longer to clear out of my system.  At least in that amount.  🙁

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Home-made Chipotle bowl.

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For the rice, I mixed corn, cilantro, and lime juice into brown rice.  For the chicken, I cooked two breasts in the crock pot covered in salsa for 8 hours on low.  It shredded in 5 seconds and made for minimal hands on work.  Kyle demanded a repeat of this meal immediately, so I suspect it will be a regular.

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It was seriously easy so that’s fine by me.  I served the chicken and rice with romaine and avocado.

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I’ve made this broccoli salad previously (both times adding quinoa).  Just as good this time (I had two more huge servings and the leftovers for lunch the next day).

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I actually made us two separate meals this night because we didn’t have very much GF pasta after P ate dinner (his appetite keeps surprising me!).  So Kyle had wheat pasta with this pesto (frozen from our summer produce) and I had the (above) mish mash.

Since you probably can’t tell, it’s TJ’s pasta with kale and roasted veggies topped in an avocado/nutritional yeast sauce.  Despite appearances, it was delicious.

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Kyle’s dad was in town on Friday night (Valentine’s Day) so our romantic dinner was re-scheduled for Sunday.  I made a stew with veggies, kale, rice, and sausage.

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Saturday was P’s first birthday party, so we treated ourselves to sushi that night.  No pics because I devoured it superfast.  Avocado inari is my fave.

And here are a few more meals that I photographed from the previous week but never shared…

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Pasta with marinara and home-made lentil “meatballs”.  I made extra pasta for Kyle’s lunch the next day, as well as extra GF pasta for me & P.

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He loves pasta with olive oil or chicken broth.  Frankly I can get him to eat anything with chicken broth.  It’s how I shoved brown rice and squash down his throat just yesterday.

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This was a Sonoma “chickn” salad made from Beyond Meat chicken-free strips.  I love their products so much.  They are getting “beefy crumbles” soon which should be interesting.

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I basically tweaked the Whole Foods version of the Sonoma salad that first introduced me to Beyond Meat’s product – mayo, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, celery, salt & pepper.

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Served atop a salad (or on a sandwich the next day).

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In addition to Caesar I’m really into mayo these days.  It’s all about the condiments, baby.

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Rosemary and lemon chicken and red potatoes with mixed veggies.  We all ate this one, no alterations needed.

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Spoon Fork Bacon’s shaved brussel salad with quinoa instead of pretzel bread and bacon instead of pancetta.  So good we made it again for P’s birthday party.

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Brown rice, broccoli, and organic chicken sausage.  I wasn’t too keen on the sausage, to be honest.  The flavor was fine, but the texture weirded me out. 

So there you have it – an assortment meals for our omni family.

My highlights: week 5

This week went by bleepin’ FAST.  [Side note: I have to get my swearing in check now that P understands everything I’m saying!!  Words are now real things with meaning.  Talk about a reality check.]

Last weekend was a snooze with that lame Super Bowl, although I did grab brunch at Cafe Bernardo with a former co-worker.

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I brought P (with his eggs and such in a tupperware) and he was the perfect gentleman – minimal puffs and banana bits made their way to the floor (although I always clean that stuff up at the end of meals out because I don’t wanna ruin the generosity and hospitality of the baby friendly places). 

Anyway, I really like going to brunch with her because she makes me feel in the loop still with hospital stuff.  I realize I haven’t actually shared this news, but I am taking a break from nursing to be a mom right now.  For a while I was trying to work out an arrangement where I could do per diem or have an on call schedule, but my boss didn’t have that position available.  Night shifts were killing me since we don’t have child care during the day (leaving me to attempt to function 24 hours around the clock or more).  There were literally some stretches of time that I was awake with only 3 hours of “naps” total over the course of 96 hours.  Dangerous for my patients, sad for my son, miserable for my health. 

Fortunately, I’m extremely blessed to have a husband who supports me in my decision.  And even though finances are tight with one income per household, life is short, and this is way better for our family. 

So.  Brunches with my ex-colleague are my way of keeping tabs on the unit, and nursing in general.  Plus, she’s super awesome.  We hit it off immediately when I started working there, and as a result we decided we’d be friends outside of the hospital.

Tangent over.  Back to the week. 

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On Monday I went to the East Bay to join my parents at a lecture at Cal.  It was part of this series

The class is for students, but a limited number of tickets are open to the public.  Unfortunately it is insanely popular and therefore hard to get reservations.  You have to register each week and we didn’t get in the first week, so I missed Michael Pollan’s intro.  This week’s lecture was by Raj Patel and my parents and I all agreed it wasn’t the best.  We felt so out of the loop because there was all this assigned reading (for the students) that we obviously hadn’t done.  I’m optimistic that the speakers for the rest of the course will be better though.  Any other Michael Pollan fans should check out his latest interview on the Inquiring Minds podcast.  It’s fantastic.

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Eeeek!  SO close to overflowing.  Helloooooo antioxidants.

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Check out those baby blues. 

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I took pics of all my meals at my parents’ house.  The above breakfast is on Rudi’s GF bread. 

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Lunch was a big salad with spinach, roasted Brussels, carrots, avocado, and sunflower seeds. 

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With a side of GF pretzels.

I snacked on more carrots and pretzels throughout the day.

And for dinner we made a stewp with quinoa and veggies.

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And can’t forget about deezer (that’s what we called dessert growing up). 

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My mom found these in the bakery section at WF and brought them home thinking I couldn’t have them because they weren’t (specified) as gluten free.  Well, as it turns out, there isn’t even flour in them at all!  They had sugar, egg whites, and walnuts.  And lots of chocolate (obvs).  But no dairy and no wheat.  I’ll take the biggest one, thankyouverymuch.  For the record, they are like a hybrid of a cookie and a brownie.  Rich and soft on the inside with a brownie like outside.  Thumbs way up.

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And while we are on the subject of chocolate. 

Practice round for my little guy’s (allergy friendly) birthday cake!  It’s so cliché to talk about the time flying by, but seriously, I can’t believe it’s already his birthday!

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Playing ball with Auntie.

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Rainy day fun with bubbles.

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I look away for 1.5 seconds and…this.  My parents’ house isn’t baby proofed and P is taking advantage.  At least it was only diapers.

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Balance.

My highlights: week 4

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Pretty much my breakfast all week. 

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Except for this one.  With nomnompaleo’s cinnamon banana coconut pancakes.  Thanks for the suggestion Ttrockwood.  🙂

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Hipster babe.

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Brussels before and after.  I used this recipe and it’s my new favorite way to eat ze sprouts.  For the record, I’m not a picky one with the cruciferous category (I love all my greens in sickness and in health), but Kyle is and he loved them too…so if that’s any indication of the yum factor, there you go.

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omgomgomgomgomg [fingers crossed]

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You all know about that whole cauliflower pizza crust thing, right?  It’s a thing in case you didn’t know – google it.  I made mini crusts, but they weren’t firm enough to hold up as a crust.  Still yummy though.  I used nooch instead of cheese so that’s probably where the issue stemmed from.  I just smeared avocado all over the tops and called it a day.  Good enough for me!

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Toy of the week. Tongue out = focusing.

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Dates from the dessert.  Kyle brought these back from the UAE for me and it’s hard to practice restraint as I pick my dessert out each night.  I’m actually shocked there are any left given my hideous track record with moderation (especially when it comes to dates!).  They are SO good. 

PS I have a reader in Dubai!!  That’s so cool!  Hi Lindsay!! 

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MOPS sisterhood.

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Speaking of which.  We had a recipe exchange this Monday’s MOPS meet-up and I came home with a few good ones.  Unfortunately there were lots with allergens that I’ll have to get crafty with. 

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Rocking out.

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Date night!!  My sister came to Davis to babysit so Kyle and I could go on a double date.  We met friends at Ella in Sacramento and had a fantastic time – fancy food, delicious drink, great company.

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I recently watched this on Netflix and as a result became a huge huge fan of Chipotle.  So I went and tried their food – for the first time – and yum!  As the wife of an entrepreneur, it makes me happy to see good people with good ethics succeed in their business while upholding their values.

We live near one of the locations with the vegan sofritos.  Hope they roll that out nationwide!  The only bummer is that the guacamole is more $$$ even if you don’t do dairy.  I feel like they should make an exception if you don’t want the (free) cheese or sour cream you should get (free or reduced price) avo in exchange.  I still paid extra for it though. Obvs.

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My handsome date.

And that’s the week!