dried mixed fruit

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!

Granola-ish Bars [allergen free]

Does granola necessarily mean oats?  Or grains?

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I read that buckwheat is a fruit the other day.  Hmmmm…I know it’s not related to wheat and I know it’s not a grass…eh, whatever [too lazy to google].

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Ok so I made these bars and I’m not really sure if they count as granola or not, but if you feel like the ingredients list suits you, then go ahead and give them a shot.  And then send me a new recipe name suggestion.  🙂

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The recipe is allergy friendly, and has no nuts, eggs, dairy, soy, wheat, or sesame.  It’s no KIND bar, but it’s good in it’s own right.  I mean, hello, they have squash in them!  That’s cool right?

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Cranberry Orange Squash Granola Bars [vegan, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free]

Ingredients:

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine chia seeds and water and stir.  After it’s had enough time to gel, mix chia together with the rest of the wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Add in dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Press into 8×8 greased baking pan (or lined with parchment paper/tin foil).

Bake for 30 minutes.  Wait for them to cool fully before removing and slicing (it will be hard but seriously, don’t sneak any until they have chilled).  I recommend putting them in fridge so the coconut oil solidifies and they’re easier to cut.

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

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You can buy NuNaturals’ products online (discount code BLG0614 will get you 15% off your entire order, also orders over $35 get free shipping in the US).

Tagatose subs just like cane sugar, so it’s a really easy conversion and makes it a super simple ingredient to bake with.

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Disclaimer  I’m not an allergy expert!  Consult with a medical professional before trying new foods for the first time. 

Backlogged days

Monday Monday Monday.

In nursing, there isn’t really the same stigma for the various days of the week because every day is (potentially) a work day. Fridays don’t mean the next two days are off. Wednesdays aren’t a half way mark. And Mondays aren’t the first day back after a break. So why do Mondays still have that baggage for me? Probably because spending the weekends with both my boys are so awesome. And I hate that it has to end.

I also usually do grocery shopping on Mondays and I truly have come to despise grocery shopping.

This Monday I did laundry, vacuumed the house, prepped food for the week, went on a walk, and studied acute care nursing. <— my brain has been taken over by Elmo’s world and I need to get my mind back into the world of ABGs and vent settings

It was also P’s 4 month doctor’s appointment.

And because of all that, I didn’t have time to blog about any of these yummy eats…until now (let’s pretend four days didn’t pass between now and then, okay?).

Breakfasts.

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Overnight oats with the usual suspects…and a fun new ingredient too.

Oats, chia seeds, hemp seeds, goji berries, almonds, almond milk…and Reginald’s hazelnut amaretto peanut butter.

The amaretto flavor is STRONG. I wasn’t super into it as a part of the oats, but I think it’ll be really good in a baked good. Yes yes yes. That’s the plan.

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Udi’s GF bread (omega flax & fiber) with almond butter (fresh grind from the Co-op) and a fried egg.

This bread is way heartier than their white bread. Similar to the mighty bagel it tastes like a wholesome real food.

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L: overnight oats again. R: Van’s GF waffles with almond butter and banana slices.

Lunches.

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Lettuce wraps with avocado tuna salad.

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All I did was mash 1/2 an avocado + 1 can of tuna + 1 sliced celery stalk + salt + pepper.

And since my face wasn’t satisfied with lettuce alone, I took down a huge amount of tortilla chips as well. I’ve been really good about minimizing the sugar in my life, but salt is apparently just as sneaky of a beast. Once I start…oof…game on.

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These veggie “chips” are another example of how moderation is not my bag.

I bought a ton from the bulk bin at Nugget market and ate them all in two servings. They’re a perfect snack plate addition; when eaten in normal portions. Eggs, strawberries, carrots and leftover shrimp have been other snack time regulars.

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Dinners.

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A repeat of the Fruit & Goat Cheese salad I shared previously.

Only this one had oranges (from the neighbor’s tree) and kale. Citrus and kale worked my taste buds like whoa. Plus it’s total superfood business. I felt like a grown up eating it, which basically cancels out my veggie chip binges.

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I massaged the shiz outta this lettuce. It’s better on my gut when I steam it first (and don’t eat very much at once), but I was lazy. Massaging it a few times does help break things down pretty well though.

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Bon Appétit noodles tweaked like so.

Desserts.

Chocolate. Duh.

Work meal ideas

Contrary to what my posting may indicate, I do still work!  Sorry I’ve been withholding my packed eats from you guys.  I have only been taking pictures of 50% of them, though, so here’s what I’ve got.  Hope this helps you with some ideas!

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Oats.  Veggies.  Pretzels.  Sabra hummus (x2).  Lasagna (leftover)Cookies.  Apple.  Candied ginger.

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Oat preference as of late: nuts, cinnamon & dried cherries.  When the cherries soak overnight they plump up to get to be the size of full cherries.  It’s pretty cool.

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Now that we are meal planning, my real real focus is on making big enough portions that they can last throughout the week for lunches.  It’s easy with crock-pot soups and casserole/pasta type dishes, but not so much for big salads.

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This one is Kyle’s.  I have been packing his lunches because that way I can make sure he’s getting a nice well balanced veggie diet.

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The only real difference between his and mine is the presence of cheese.  That and his morning meals are savory.  Grits with parmesan and tomatoes, for example.

Here are some other work lunches that I photographed…I can’t remember if they were his or mine since we eat so similarly now.

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This sandwich had Sabra hummus and Falafel Republic falafel.  On bread of course.  I layered hummus on each side and then kinda semi crumbled the falafel (I used ~3-4 per sando).  The hummus holds the falafel in place.

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Ok, this has string cheese, so it’s obviously Kyle’s.

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Home-made trail mix.  Kyle’s obsessed with it.  I make it differently each time.  Cereal.  Chocolate chips.  Nuts.  Dried fruit.  Etc.

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Silver Hills The Big 16 bread is a new fave (when I’m not making my own).  It’s soft like the high fructose crap bread, but it’s got the ingreds of healthy hippie bread.

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After months of plum jam, I’m on the very last of my mom’s freezer jam reserves.  Crap!  I better get home to steal some more soon.  Anyway, this is an apricot jam from 2011.  It’s a thick batch and I’ve been pairing it well with all kinds of nut butters.

Above: Artisana coconut butter (I had to microwave to get it melty first)
Below: Home-made peanut butter with Artisana cashini butter

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Oh look, another milky bowl of oats.

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With dried cherries and nuts and a whole lotta almond milk.

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This is clearly and end-of-the-week hodgepodge salad.  Kale, roasted butternut squash, tomatoes, and some planet raw leftover sides.

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I’ve been buying these Harvest Sensations kale salad bags lately, but the cabbage has been bothering me lately so I’m going to go back to just buying kale.

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This is Kyle’s raw burger that he didn’t want to touch.

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I pretty much ate them all mixed together.  The raw nut-based patty was okay.  The flax bread was meh.  Not exactly the crouton effect I was looking for.

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Another leftover lunch repurposed.

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Tomato quinoa soup served as the sauce.  Kyle’s is the pasta one, mine’s the quinoa one.

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Then I added salmon to his and vegan home-made meatballs to mine.  Sorry I can’t reveal the recipe for that one – it’s not mine to share.

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Daaaaamn was this good.

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I’m pretty sure these meatballs would be excellent apps for a party, served on a toothpick with some kinda of tomato dip.  Or maybe made into a burger patty.

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Kyle enjoyed his too.  And he got his omegas.

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Meatball quinoa thing.  Kale salad.  Oatmeal.  Banana.  Cookie.  Pretzels.  Veggies.

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Kyle’s breakfast was different than my oats.  He had a brie & jam sandwich on sourdough.

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So fancy.

For snacks, I simply gave him this whole bag of Sahale parmesan cheese & herbs crunchers and said have at it.

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Even though there are four servings in this bag, I suspect it will only last him one day.

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Sahale sent me this whole package and since I called dibs on all the rest, I figured I’d donate the dairy-ified item to his lunch.

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I’ll let you know how the rest taste.

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Sando. Pasta with tomato salmon.  Sahale snacks.  Carrot cake (leftover).

And that’s a wrap.

PS Giveaway reminder – go here!!

Millecado and lollihop

I’m really obsessed with millet bread right now, which is a shame since it costs $6 a loaf.

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The best way to enjoy it is with avocado smashed on top.

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You really don’t need anything else, but if you’re feeling extra sassy, you can jazz it up with a squeeze of lime juice, dash of salt and paprika.

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As far as I’m concerned mille-cado is the next PB&J.  It’s a heavenly snack.

For the people following the low FODMAPS plan, avocado does have trace amounts (it’s in the polyols category with stone fruits), but sources differ on it’s tolerability, especially in low quantities.  My latest resources say moderate amounts are acceptable during the elimination phase.  And since I’ve never had any issues with the green goddess, I’m cool with following that advice.  I haven’t had more than 1/2 an avocado per meal, though.

The other day, I brought this posse of eats with me to work:

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Lemme do a play-by-play.

Breakfast was a familiar mix of oats with almond butter & cinnamon.  I added in half a banana, too.  The other half I ate on the way to work.

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Lunch was different, but only subtly.  I still had a big tupperware of greens, as per usual.  But instead of using hummus as a topping, I used “cheesy” cashew sauce (the same sauce I used here).

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Spinach and quinoa are kitchen staples, and I still have tons of french green beans from our last Costco run, so that’s pretty much how that came to be.  The serving of green beans was on the moderate side, since they are sometimes included in the galactans group.  My latest sources say that both fresh peas and green beans are ok though, as long as the portion is small.

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I was rather generous with the sauce application, though.

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Mmmm…creamy.

As for the day’s snacks, I had a dried fruit/nut mix, a few Ghirardelli’s dark chocolate squares, carrots, and a bag of terra chips.

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I got a package in the mail the other day from a company called Lollihop.  They put together a box of goodies full of yummy, healthy, quality snacks – including gluten free and vegan items – which you can subscribe to receive.  You can learn more about Lollihop and how they choose their products (it’s individualized based on your lifestyle!) by clicking here.  I was happy to see many of my favorite companies represented on their site (Larabar, Clif bar, KIND bar, ProBar, kaia foods), plus some newbies I’d never heard of (somersault snack co.).  And then there were a few I’ve been wanting to try for a while (two moms in the raw, glutino, Macro bar).  Yeah!

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Terra chips (original) made their way into my lunch box because they met all the fodmaps elimination phase requirements – they’re vegan, gluten free, and made from very pure ingredients.  In fact, they are simply root vegetables with oil and sea salt.

The sweet potatoes were the best.  They were thick, but somehow melted in your mouth as you bit into them.  I don’t know how they did it, but I swear, I could have eaten a million of them.  The parsnip and yuca chips were also good, but the taro ones were a bit tough.  I never knew Terra chips had so many other kinds, but now I think I’d like to try a bunch of the other varieties.

What’s your favorite snack food lately?  Are you a salt lover – nuts, chips, crackers?  Or a sweet person – dried fruit, chocolate, etc?

Millet toast with avocado is kinda the best of both worlds.