Chickpea smuggler

Here are some updates on how it’s going feeding a toddler with allergies (since I know several mamas like these posts) and he seems to be thriving.


I snuck beans into my child’s diet and they weren’t even baked or blended into something making them unrecognizable.  Nope.  I simply changed the texture by roasting them and voila!

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The kid eats beans.

For now. 😛  (there are a few ways to roast them but I did 450 degrees F x 25 minutes just tossed in a little olive oil)

Like I mentioned in a previous post, this is very exciting for me because it is a possible gateway drug bean to many others.  And now that we have successfully introduced a few seeds safely, I’m feeling pretty good about the plant based protein options in his diet.  Fingers crossed this continues and we can keep adding in more vegan items.


This is an average spread.  He is still going through ravenous phases and I swear he grew overnight last week.  And while teething slows his appetite down, he’s still a pretty good eater even as his grill fills in.

Plums are a big favorite at the moment, and he’ll eat blueberries by the pint.  Pending his mood, there’s not many fruits he will turn down.  Veggies are hit and miss.  He doesn’t like greens in his eggs anymore (and picks around them) so I’m thinking I’ll blend them and make it impossible for him to avoid them.  Hopefully he doesn’t turn up his nose at green eggs altogether.

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I made this banana pancake a while ago which looked awesome to me, but he wanted none of it.  I happily devoured it with sunbutter on top.

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It was just mashed banana and eggs – two things he loves – but nope.  No interest.

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Still making pouches weekly.

The best thing about these is that appearances don’t matter so I have a tupperware that I keep in the fridge specifically for fruit discards.  So those last few grape halves or banana slices he doesn’t want (etc)…collect over the week and then I blend them all together (with frozen broccoli or something else green) and have a big smoothie puree that I add to pouches as we need them out and about.  No waste, no how.

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Still making hemp milk weekly, too.

The only thing I’ve changed in my technique since this post is I bought a nut milk bag.  It makes the process even faster and it literally takes me no time to do it now.

I will say, though, that hemp milk doesn’t hold his appetite very well so I mix it with (canned) coconut milk to get in extra fat and calories.  That way he gets the protein from the hemp and the other macros of the coconut milk.  And still no gums, thickeners, stabilizers, etc. because the coconut milk I use is only coconut and water.

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And last but not least, a new snack option!  I had written previously about these 2 ingredient bars, but they since got a new flavor and it’s also a winner.

And regarding the “may contain seeds” label on the package.  Here’s the reply I got from Trader Joe’s:

 Hi Elise,

Thank you for contacting us! The “May contain seeds” statement you are inquiring about that is printed on our Trader Joe’s Apple Banana Fruit Bars, is a warning for possible seeds that are in the fruit used. It is not referring to allergens.

There are no chia, sesame or hemp seeds in the facility that manufactures this product.

Thanks again,

Nicki K.
Trader Joe’s
Customer Relations

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.


1. blue monkey coconut chips

I got these as a freebie for some educational event I went to, but I know they are sold at Whole Foods as well as mainstream grocers (check the “ethnic foods” aisle). 

I really loved them and although they were sweetened, I’d buy them again.  I used them as a salad topping (so good with kale and a tamari based dressing), but I can see it being a good oatmeal mix-in as well. 


2. Trader Joe’s roasted coconut chips

I bought these right after I tried the blue monkey ones and realized I loved them, hoping they would be the same (or better).  And they were. 

I used them on kale salads (again) and snacked on them plain.  I love them and will continue to buy them. 

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3. Clearly Kombucha

I’ve blogged about this brand before, but I have now tried more flavors and wanted to share.  The raspberry lemonade is my favorite (even more than the ginger ones!), but they are all really good.  The pro is that they are cheaper than GT’s brand, but the con is that they aren’t re-sealable.  I sometimes sip on a bottle of kombucha over the course of the day, so having the ability to close it without it losing all it’s fizz is a big perk.  I do like the unique flavors like strawberry hibiscus, though. 

I will continue to buy them as a treat (kombucha isn’t included in our grocery budget), especially because they have sales at my local store pretty often.


4. Vega sport chocolate saviseed protein bar

I was out and about and had a huge craving for a protein bar so as soon as I got home I ripped through our pantry and found this guy.  I was looking for anything that didn’t have nuts, but was more hearty than a little granola bar (not as easy to find).  This fit the bill quite nicely.


Kinda high in the sugar department if I’m being super picky, but I’m not.  Flavor wise it was exactly what I was craving.  Chocolate-y and dense with enough protein to hold me over to dinner (also soy, nut and gluten free).  I am in a big chia seed phase now that I know P tolerates them.


Would I buy again?  Yes if I was in a pinch, but they are kinda expensive as far as bars go.  Also, I rarely crave them (I usually opt for a more real food option when I have the choice.)


5. The Good Bean crunchy roasted chickpeas

I bought these for our flight because I wanted a vegetarian snack with protein (that was nut free).

I have made them at home before, but since we were travelling I splurged on the prepared kind.  Totally recommend.  I will buy again for on-the-go/travel purposes – I kinda want to try every flavor (but I’ll continue to make my own when home).


6. Trader Joe’s southern greens blend

Collards, mustard greens, and chard.  Yum!  At first I was super annoyed our TJ’s was out of organic kale, but now I am glad because it prompted me to buy this blend.  It’s a new fave, so I’ll be buying it lots more from here on out (I’m already on my 3rd bag).  I actually munch on it plain as I’m preparing salads or whatever; and P eats it when I add it to his scrambled eggs. 


7. Baby Gourmet creamy brown rice cereal

I never did the rice cereal thing when P was first starting solids.  He wasn’t into purees or super smooth textures so when I finally did introduce grains, I just went straight to oatmeal (prepared the way I eat it).  Rather than bring a bag of oats on the trip, I thought this highly portable pack would be perfect (it’s been in our pantry forever). 

I mixed it with chunky fruit purees, bananas, apple sauce, and P liked it okay.  I don’t think it was his favorite but since we were on vacation and the options weren’t extensive he ate it.  Now that we are home I haven’t given it to him again (we are back to oatmeal). 

Would I buy again?  No.  P liked things with some texture and bite.  But if you have a newborn who is just starting solids, this is a really easy way to go (plu sit’s organic, gluten free, dairy free, and contains nothing but brown rice).  For the record, they also make fruit/veggie purees that P loves.


8. Xyla sweetener

I got this years ago (yes, that long ago) because everyone was raving about xylitol as a sweetener, but then I never tried it because it is a FODMAP (polyol).  Even though I don’t react too much to polyols as a group, I had no real reason to try it (because I love stevia as a calorie free sweetener).  Anyway, I finally gave it a shot and it made me bloated and gassy, so there you go. ‘

I won’t buy it again, and I have a whole bag of the stuff to donate to someone.


9. Fresh n Nova olive flavored garlic fluffy spread and hummus

First off, neither Kyle nor I like black olives. 

So the fact that Kyle raved about the lasagna I used both of these in says something.


He still doesn’t know he ate olives, so shhh.


Would I buy again?  Kyle loves all things garlic so I can see the fluff becoming a regular.  I don’t think we will buy that flavor hummus again though.  I’m still avoiding sesame (although the nursing days may be coming to a close so that could change soon?). 


10. Trader Joe-san’s green beans

Wow are these addictive.  They may have replaced banana chips as my new favorite snack. 

Would I buy again?  Yes times a million! 

My highlights: week 8



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We spent too much time at Lamps Plus last Sunday buying a chandelier for…drumroll…our new house!!!  I am still in shock.  More on that later.  In the two hours it took to find a suitable chandelier and matching chain, P managed to pee through an outfit and get super hungry.  Like a total rookie mom, I was prepared for neither.  We left at 11:30 thinking it would be a 30 minute trip, tops.  But we were way wrong.  Needless to say I made it work.  I changed him in the car and cleaned his outfit as best I could, then found a pouch of applesauce and corn puffs in the bottom of the diaper bag.  He was quite happy and fell asleep on the traffic-packed drive home.  Kyle and I both wanted to eat our own faces by the time we got home and were laughing at the ridiculous nature of the whole outing.  In the end we got a chandelier though, so mission accomplished! 


My sister bought me a 6 pack of Roscato (aka the best wine ever) for P’s first birthday.  It makes me sound like a mega boozer, but if you’ve ever tried this fizzy red vino, then you understand.  If you haven’t, I suggest you remedy that situation asap. 

Anyway, I popped the cork screw top last weekend when we had some friends over.  The kids romped in the backyard while we sipped and supervised.


Looking over the fence, keeping an eye out for our friends.


The blue eyes babes.


Salt and vinegar roasted chickpeas.  I made two batches and shockingly, P actually ate the salt-less ones.  Every day is a new food mood, though, so I’m not holding my breath.


This week’s weather was rather schizophrenic.  Shorts!  Flip flops!!  I dressed like this for two glorious walks in the sunshine until the rain came.


After a gorgeous start to the week, the storms hit on Wednesday and haven’t slowed since.  Spring is such a tease.  

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Went to the East Bay again on Monday for this lecture series.  I carpooled with my parents, but when I first got to their house my mom was out on a hike with the dogs.  Patty-cakes was so confused as to why the dogs weren’t in the backyard.  When they got home, he gave grandma a nice greeting, but quickly turned his attention to the pups.

PS This lecture featured Joan Dye Gussow & Michael Moss, speaking on “Consumerism, Marketing, and Health.”  They got me fired up all over again about the crap the majority of the nation eats, and how big businesses target us, and why our grocery stores look the way they do.  Ugh.  Somehow it was depressing and discouraging, while still being inspiring and motivating.  But if you’re looking for answers, I came away with nada.  If only we could all have the time and financial resources to make our own food from real ingredients and completely boycott processed products.  Not super realistic though.


Breakfast battle: sweet or savory?  I don’t do “or”.  It’s sweet AND savory for moi.

On the left, steel cut oats with golden raisins, strawberries, and cinnamon.  On the right, two fried eggs. 

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Testing out the umbrella stroller.  I got it at the thrift store for $6 in preparation for our travel.  All it has to do is last 12 days.  Or at least just the flight portion.  I can rent something once we arrive if it turns out to be a p.o.s.

So far so good though.  I treated myself to Starbucks because I had negative cups at my parents’ house and then P got an eye infection and I had to go to the hospital and yadda yadda, I wanted caffeine.  The stir stick made a nice toy for him.  It’s the simple things…


Twinsies.  And it happened twice!  So weird cracking into an egg and seeing double yolks come out. 

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Breakfast strata for Kyle.  Sourdough, Green Valley organic plain lactose free yogurt, spinach, eggs, salsa, and parmesan on top.  He loves the gluten and dairy, so P and I live vicariously through him. 

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Aint no drizzle holding back our family jog.  But lack of sleep does (P is sick).  This was a short run, but we did it, and that’s all that matters. 


He fell asleep like this.  Like, wtf, that cannot be comfortable. 


Top meal of the week was packed with these roasted veggieeeeeeees. 

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Kale salad lunches were a close runner up.  All good.

Separately vegetarian

In the beginning of our relationship (8!!! years ago), Kyle and I ate different meals 99% of the time. 

Then he went vegetarian a year ago and we started eating the same things.  It was pretty cool to plan dinners and grocery shop for us both in the same way.  We still eat this way…until this past week…

In an effort to clean out the fridge, I’ve been making a ton of not very FODMAP friendly meals for him.  Meanwhile I’ve been on a total salad bender.


They all have the same theme.  NUTS!  Lots of nuts!

I look forward to these massive beasts so much so that I’ve almost made one for breakfast.  But I didn’t.

Now you get a mini montage to prove my salad devotion.

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Yep.  Obsessed with salads topped in nuts.  Each has had different proteins to go in it – from seitan, to [frozen] gardein chik’n breasts, to hard boiled eggs, to tofu, to tempeh. 

Kyle’s dad took us to lunch at Greens Up! on Montana (that’s the one with tofu on top).  And Alene brought us take out from Veggie Grill (that’s the kale salad with tempeh).

Our produce is basically doneso.  Kyle likes big salads, too, but not as much as I do.  So here’s a quick sampling of what I’ve been making him instead.


Rice & Bean Casserole [I cooked the dried beans and rice together in the rice cooker, used a boxed squash soup, added spices and cheddar cheese to the whole thing and then baked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees]


Crock-pot lasagna


Breakfast Quiche Muffins


Curry chickpeas with brown rice [I sautéed 1/2 onion, 1 can of chickpeas, 1/2 head of cabbage in oil and Patak’s curry paste]

Neither of us really mind the fact that we eat different things, but it’s a bit more work, that’s for sure.  I’m definitely looking forward to restocking a new kitchen and fridge after we move and making meals that we can both share and enjoy together again. 🙂

Catching up & solo parenting

Kyle’s been taking day trips away for business, which leaves me and P home alone together.  I realize this is how most new moms function after their spouse’s paternity leave ends (if they even get any!), but for me it’s a whole new learning curve. 


Fortunately, my little guy is making leaps and bounds each and every day, so I can utilize the crib in the nursery (and video monitor) and boppy pillow (which neither of us were ready for during his first month of life).  His neck is getting really strong and he’s big enough to fit in the baby bjorn.  Basically I don’t have to be holding him 100% of the time – although sometimes I want to. 🙂

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Anyway, here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to the past few days…eats and more.

[It’s taken me several days to write this post because I can only manage to be on the computer in sporadic time slots throughout the day]

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Breakfast has been my usual.  Oatmeal with sweet toppings and a bunch of peanut butter mixed in.  This trail mix was actual devoid of chocolate.  Shocker!

I’ve had to reheat my meals in the microwave a few times now that I only have two hands (max) on deck.  We all know it, mom’s needs (and appetite) are secondary now.  Distractions are frequent.  No complaints here.  I love my little patty-cakes.

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Lunch!  This sandwich is actually an anomaly because lately I’ve been ALL about the hippie bowls.  But every once in a while I get jealous of the yummy wheat bread that Kyle eats without abandon and I enjoy a couple of slices myself.  [I try and keep the rest of the day FODMAP free as a result]

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I was planning on using the last of my tofurky slices, but they were looking a little suspect so I sliced up some Field Roast “meatloaf” (wild mushroom) instead. 

There was also tomatoes, chard, mustard, and nayonaise in it with carrots on the side. 

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The heels of Dave’s Killer Bread are the best and Kyle knows better than to swoop on my end pieces.  Seed central. 

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In the afternoon I went for a walk with my little dude.  I’m a pro at packing up the stroller and such so it’s really not a hassle any more.  Almost second nature loading everything up.  The only thing about doing it solo is that we have two steps on our front porch and P is getting to be a little chunky monkey.  Lifting him in the stroller is usually a task I leave to Kyle when we do family walks, but when I’m by myself I have to use recruit every muscle fiber in my arms. 

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Afternoon delight. 🙂

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Leftover tofu pancit that I enhanced with salty roasted peanuts (it needed more fat and kcals).

No pics of dessert or the next day’s breakfast – probably because I was doing things one handed or soaking up the time with Kyle after he’d been gone all day. 

I pack up Kyle’s breakfasts and lunches for his travel days at night before we head to bed.

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This pita pocket had a quick curry chickpea salad in it – nayonaise, curry powder, paprika, salt, and mashed up chickpeas. 

I make him exclusively hand-held food because 99% of the time he’s eating while driving.  PB&Js, Clif bars, egg sandwiches, breakfast burrito wraps, etc.

Unlike my lunches.  I prefer fork and knife things. 

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This is more like it.  Big salad plus Mary’s GF crackers.  Standard.

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Even though it looks good, it was kinda meh because I used canned green beans in it (leftover from this salad bar themed dinner).  Also the nooch didn’t go with the cucumbers (how dare I say something doesn’t go with nutritional yeast!!).  But it didn’t.  The ingredients were made up entirely of fridge odds and ends – kale, romaine, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and Field Roast.  I ended up dumping olive oil all over it which lubed it up enough to taste decent.

Big salads and hippie bowls are very much the lunch time norm.  Here are some others I’ve captured lately…

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Top: hippie bowl with quinoa, (frozen) spinach, (frozen) mixed veggies – carrots/corn/peas, 365 (frozen) meatless meatballs, and nutritional yeast.

Middle: side salad with romaine, tomatoes, carrots, and daiya (I had mega hummus and Crunchmaster GF crackers with it)

Bottom: his and hers salads (mine’s the lefty) with romaine, kale, baked tofu, carrots, and chopped mixed nuts.

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A non-granola, non-chocolate snack! 

The other day I mentioned a recent discovery, medjool dates stuffed with tofu “ricotta”, and I got a few inquiries.  Well, it’s nothing too complicated.  I got the idea from my mother in law, actually, after she told me about trying the non-vegan version at Expo West.  I thought, why don’t I try that with my beloved tofu ricotta!.  Winner.

Coincidentally, I recently saw this at Whole Foods and bought it to give it a try.


Not a fan.  I liked the fact that it was made from tofu and cashews, but it had a weirdly sweet flavor to it that tasted off to me.  Not at all like ricotta cheese.

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Now about this dinner.  So.  GOOD.  [!!!]

I’m going to have to post the recipe separately because it was unexpectedly perfect.  So much so that I have recreated it twice since (for lunch and dinner the same day). 

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Aaaand dessert.  Plowing through dates lately.  Stuffed with almond butter, peanut butter, tofu ricotta, carob chips, or dark chocolate.  Mmmmm…

And then the routine continues.


How awesome is this morning set up?  It almost felt like old times…only I had decaf dandy tea instead of coffee and I had to do the crossword standing at the kitchen island bar to soothe P in the bjorn.  Sooo, not really like old times at all.  But I finished every last square so maybe some things never change. 🙂


Both of us in our PJs.  I’m pretty much in bliss…and he looks pretty content too, don’t you think?