chocolate

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Think he gets enough love and attention?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.  🙂

Brownie mix cookies

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I was debating between making brownies or cookies for our memorial day party and was kinda in the mood for shortcuts since I was making a few other things.  So I decided brownies would be easier because TJ’s has a gluten free mix.

But then!

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I never would have thought of this on my own but I happened to look at the bag and noticed a cookie recipe.  Best of both worlds.

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I made tweaks, naturally.  There wasn’t nearly enough liquid as per their recipe so I upped the water.  I suspect any liquid would work though.  Not sure how it would work without xanthan gum, so if anyone tries let me know.

Cheater GF Chocolate Cookies [vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, soy free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Trader Joe’s gluten free brownie mix
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine egg, oil and water and mix well.  Add in the dry ingredients (brownie mix, baking soda, gum) and stir until combined.  Feel free to add in nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips or whatever – I didn’t want any though.

Scoop onto a greased cookie sheet (using 1 tbsp scoop will yield 18-20 cookies).  Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees F.

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They are kinda crispy on the outside but still soft throughout.  Yummy.  Not too sweet either.  And if you want to know what’s in the bag…

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Sugar!  Ha.  I haven’t given any to P yet, but I think they are allergen friendly so maybe if I’m feeling generous like ruining his sweet tooth forevermore…I mean, it’s only a matter of time right?

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Maybe I’ll put some of this between them and make ice cream sandwiches.  People brought so many other desserts to our party (a sheet cake AND gluten free brownies!) that there were several cookies leftover.  Get in ma belly.

4 ingredient vegan chocolate ice cream

Ignore the chocolate chips in the photo below, because that’s an [optional] fifth ingredient.

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Oh my gosh was this ever good.

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And easy!  So so easy!  None of the boiling milk and dissolving sugar nonsense.  <–Lazy girl, no shame.

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I got an ice cream maker for my birthday (in October) but it wasn’t really put to use very much over the colder months of winter.  Now, though.  Now, is ice cream season.

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And I am alllll about the coconut milk versions.  I’m pretty much be doing different mixes of this basic guideline from now until August.  You have been warned.

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4 ingredient vegan chocolate ice cream [vegan, nut free, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, fodmaps friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans coconut milk (light or full fat – either will work)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Directions:

Freezer ice creme maker insert overnight (or as per your machine’s instructions).

Blend everything together in a high speed blender until mixed.

Pour into ice cream maker and follow directions.  Since mine was room temp to start it took ~25 minutes to get thick.

Transfer to tupperware/container and let further harden in freezer.

Notes:

I suspect any liquid sweetener would work (agave, honey, etc.) but I haven’t tried them so if you do let me know in the comments.

Pour any add-ins (chocolate chips, nuts, berries, etc.) into the ice cream maker during the last minutes of churning.

Removing it from the freezer ~5-20 minutes prior to serving will make it softer and easier to scoop.

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This isn’t icy or hard in the least!  It’s also the perfect level of sweetness – not too much, but still dessert-like.

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It tasted like those old fashioned malts you get at sporting events.

I didn’t detect coconut flavor, but I may be immune to it at this point.  I asked Kyle if it was coconut-y to him and he didn’t really know either.  We both like coconut, so I’m not sure if that helps much, but the ice cream is definitely CHOCOLATE (not coconut).

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Enjoy!

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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?

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

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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! 

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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.  🙁

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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]

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

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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!

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Happy birthday Kyle!

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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). 

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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!

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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.