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! 

The latest lunch boxes


Sometimes Kyle has lunch meetings and sometimes he’s home for breakfast so what I pack for him varies.  I just ask him about his schedule the night before and what meals he wants.


Last week I made a bunch of breakfast burritos for Kyle.  I assembled them and rolled them up in foil all at once so I could just throw them in his lunch box the night before.  So easy.

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I am seriously sorry about the photos, but there’s only so much you can do with an iphone at 9 pm. 

For the burrito insides, I used the rice cooker  and made brown rice + black beans together, then I tossed in lots of salsa.  The tortillas are flour ones from TJ’s (not whole wheat, because they don’t stretch as well and get soggy).  The only thing I added to them was cheese.  So easy.

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It’s kinda rare that we have leftovers from dinner, but when we do I give thme to Kyle for lunch the next day.  Like the lasagna above.

He also likes bars, but I try not to rely on them too much.  Other staples are crackers & cheese or veggies & hummus.  And fresh fruit.  He goes through phases with fruit (often because we buy bulk things from Costco and then OD on them).  Right now he’s in a cutie phase. 

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Sandwiches are the alternate lunch option.  I only make him PB&J when he’s going to be out of the house all day (otherwise I’d make him something allergen friendly so he can play with P).


That mini candy bar is leftover from Halloween.  Still.  Eye roll.  

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Other sandwich faves: tuna salad, salmon salad, and hummus and pesto.

And then there’s the breakfast grits.  So simple and such a pleaser – just corn meal, water, salsa, cheese (and occasionally a fried egg or beans on top).

Ten Reviews

Here are some products I’ve tried lately (or over the last few months…). 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 brands. These are simply my honest opinions.


1. Nama-Age deep fried tofu. 

I thought deep fried anything would be good, but this didn’t have any flavor.  Bland.  Lame.

I wouldn’t buy again.


2. Puro Coffee

It’s organic and fairtrade and I have liked all the blends I’ve tried (and I’m picky about my java!).  I think you all should try to get your hands on some.  You can read about their social initiatives and how they’re saving the rainforests on their website.  I’m so into them – they have hot chocolate and tea too!

They need more distribution!


3. Baby Gourmet perfect purees baby food.

These pouches are life savers when I’m traveling and on-the-go.  He doesn’t love the puree texture (prefers something with more chew), but it works in a pinch. 

Would I buy again?  I’d love to say no I’ll make my own, but let’s be real.  They’re so convenient.  Especially for travel with planes, trains, and automobiles. 


4. Tasty Bite Pad Thai.

I got this a long time ago and since we are slowly working our way through the pantry (towards being a nut free household), I gave this to Kyle in his lunch.

We had just gotten home from a trip and didn’t have much in the fridge, so this was exactly what I was looking for as I scavenged the pantry. 


It looked small for one portion (in my opinion), and a tad greasy, but he really liked it. 

I’d buy it again if we weren’t converting to an allergy friendly atmosphere.


5. Hodo Soy five spice tofu nuggets

Love these.  Super flavorful and insanely easy to use in a meal – just throw on a salad, in noodles, atop steamed veggies, etc. 

I’m so mad at Costco for discontinuing Hodo Soy’s Yuba Strips.  If they get rid of the tofu nuggets too I’m going to have to write to them (again).  That said, I am really monitoring (read: limiting) my soy intake these days, on account of my little man’s allergies, so I doubt I’ll be hitting up Costco for soy products in bulk.


6. Fresh ‘N Nova babaghannoush.

I had been working my way through all of Fresh N Nova’s spreads, until P had his little allergy scare.  Since then, hummus has been infrequently consumed (on account of the sesame) in the HHH household, which is sad considering how obsessed I am with the stuff.

Anyway, the babaghannoush has tahini too so I’m savoring these products on the late night after P is in bed and when I won’t nurse him again until the allergens are long gone from my milk. 


I highly recommend everyone else stuff their faces with these goodies since I cannot.


7. Natural Value organic coconut milk.

It’s hard to find coconut milk (or any non-dairy milk for that matter) without added thickeners and emulsifiers and stabilizers, but this stuff is pure.

Just coconut and water – in a BPA free can to boot. 


It’s also the highest fat content I’ve seen anywhere (meaning it’s not as watered down as other canned coconut milk brands).  Unfortunately, it’s kinda pricey.

I found it at my local grocery store in the asian food section, but you can order it from amazon too. 

I combine one can with one can of water and use that in my coffee.  It’s weird seeing fat floating in my coffee but it doesn’t bother me too much since it tastes great.

Would I buy again?  I’m alternating between this one and the Trader Joe’s coconut milk.  TJ’s is cheaper, but more watered own (so I don’t add water to it).


8. Tessemae’s lemon chesapeake.

My mom bought this as a fish marinade, which we tried on our salmon.  I like that the ingredients are clean and there aren’t any weird thickeners or additives, but to be honest, we couldn’t really taste it on the fish.  Maybe it would be better as salad dressing? 

Would I buy again?  Probably not this flavor, but I am curious about the others.  They have a ton that all sound really good.  I just wish they didn’t all have garlic in them.  🙁


9. Sun Cups.

Oh my gosh, these are so good.  They are nut free and gluten free, meaning they are totally safe for me to eat around my little guy.  And that makes me very very happy.


The mint is SO good.  It’s like a grown up fancy peppermint patty. 


The sunflower seed one is great too, obviously.  I haven’t tried the milk chocolate ones yet.  I think I’ll let Kyle do the (dairy) honors.  I’m sure he won’t object.


10. GT’s synergy enlightened black chia.

This was my first chia komucha!  I was nervous the texture would be weird for me, which is why I never bought one before.  I like chia seeds though, so even though it was kinda like drinking gel, it was still really yummy.

I’d buy it again as a treat, but I’m trying not to spend $$$$ on non-essentials.

Christmas 2013

Round 2!  Actually, if you count the Thanksmas we had in Tahoe earlier in December with Kyle’s family, this is really our third Christmas. 


No such thing as too much celebrating, right?!  Especially when it’s baby’s first Christmas.

We got to my parents’ house just in time for a few cookies.  Which provided the perfect fuel for the Niners’ game.

My little cheerleader fell asleep on my shoulder during the game so I wasn’t much help in preparing dinner.


After we put him down we had a mini facetime sesh with my sis in Australia, wishing her a Merry Christmas.


For dinner we had this salmon along with roasted potatoes and a simple salad.

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And the 49ers won too!  Double awesome.

The next day was Christmas Eve and I still had tons to get done (like wrapping all the presents!).  After a morning workout with my trainer Jillian (level 1, cd #2) I sipped coffee and made food.


My dad went to WF and discovered tons of awesome products, including these GF carrot raisin muffins by Flax4Life.  I had one for breakfast with a fried egg.  Delightfully bready and not at all dried out or bland. 

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Next on the to-do list was baking for my grandpa, aunt, and uncles. 

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I make them quick bread every year. 


This year I chose pumpkin bread with walnuts and golden raisins.


As you can see, I was quite productive!

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The first ones I made were a disaster in that I overfilled the pans and they ended up hideously shaped.  Top heavy doesn’t even begin to describe them.  It’s especially weird because I didn’t even double the recipe so I really don’t know what size loaf it’s meant to make!  One thing’s for sure, it yields way more than 3 mini loaves!


The second time I made the recipe I halved it and I got 3 normal sized (non exploding) mini loaves out of it.


Autumn Pumpkin Bread [adapted from The Lafayette Collection cookbook, yields 3 large loaves or 6 mini loaves]


  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the dry ingredients (first 6 listed) and mix.  Add in the remaining ingredients (except the raisins and walnuts) and stir to combine.  Fold in the raisins and walnuts.  Pour into 3 large greased bread pans.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

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Lunch on the left, snack on the right.  Oh cookies, why are you so delicious.


Matchy matchy church outfits for the boys. 

After Christmas Even mass we went over to our friends’ house for the annual food and sing-along.  Last year I was uber pregnant and this year I got to show off my little man!  He was a champ and lasted an hour into the party (way past his bedtime) before we had to peace out to do his bedtime routine back at home.

I snacked here and there and went to bed with a belly full of odds and ends.  Stuffed though.


Christmas morning!


Obviously we stayed in our PJs all morning. 

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Breakfast intermission for pancakes and eggs.

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We used the entire box of King Arthur GF pancake mix, which was superb.  Highly recommend.  You’d never know they don’t have wheat and they puffed up perfectly.


Even Mickey.  :) 


This is my first portion.  I topped the pancakes with fresh berries and maple syrup.


And then it was back to presents!


Thanks to all the stimulation, Patty-cakes started to get reallllly tired by the late morning so I tried to nurse him into a slumber.  It kinda worked and even though he resisted it at first, he finally fell asleep and napped for a solid 2+ hours. 

During that time, we finished opening presents, showered, and got working on the fooooood.


My sister made hummus without sesame seeds!!  What a good auntie.  It’s so nice when you don’t have to worry about allergens in group settings.


I know this little guy really appreciated it.  🙂


I always look forward to seeing my grandpa in his plaid pants on Christmas.

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It was a busy time in the kitchen and since I was helping with everything from the salad to the mashed potatoes to the crisp, I don’t have many photos.


Here’s my plate.  Loaded with veg. 


And here’s the crisp I made.

Apple & Cranberry Crisp [vegan, gluten free options noted*]



  • 6 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup flour (*use oat flour to make GF)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (I used Earth Balance)


  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (*use certified GF)
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour (*use GF all purpose or oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened

Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour into a greased baking dish. 

In a separate bowl combine topping ingredients until uniformly mixed (small clumps are fine). 

Pour the crumble topping over the cranberry apple mix.

Bake for ~60 minutes at 375 degrees F (until the fruit is bubbling throughout the pan).  Cover with foil once the top has browned. 


I couldn’t help but dig into the chocolate (even though I already had some crisp).  My aunt brought a sh!t ton of home-made goodies, including fudge and chocolate covered this and chocolate covered that.  The best thing of all, though, was this rocky road amazingness.  I could have died it was so good.

The next morning I was back on the workout train.  I went for an awesome (chilly) run around the neighborhood.


Then we went to brunch with my New York ladies who were back in town.  We went to La Boulange (again) and I got the quinoa, egg, tomato, avo creation above.  They finally got to meet the little pacman! 

He was so excited to be seated next to the massive Christmas wreath in the window.  He spent the first half of the brunch plucking the needles off it and throwing them at me (fortunately the wreath was on it’s last legs or I would have been more concerned).  He spent the second half of the brunch asleep on my chest (we were talking and catching up for hours!). 

Eventually we had to part ways.  🙁

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You can’t see my lunch very well, but there’s a mountain of leftovers underneath the fried eggs.  Who doesn’t love a before and after yolk goo photo?

It took us double the time it normally does to drive home to Davis.  Freakin’ Tahoe traffic.  All the New Years people must have decided to go up the day after Christmas because it was mis-er-able on the road.   Silver lining, P got a lengthy nap in and we found a new back road route from Vacaville.  Going 80 mph on a country road is actually more fun than the freeway.

Can you believe we only have a few more days of 2013!!!

Davis Christmas weekend

Everyone says the holidays are so much better through a child’s eyes but it’s absolutely true.  I feel so cliché, but my first Christmas as a mom was just about the best one I’ve ever had. 


The other cliché about kids enjoying the wrapping more than the actual present is also 100% accurate.  Tissue paper > anything and everything.


Last weekend, Kyle and I celebrated our own holiday with just the three of us here in Davis on Sunday.  Santa came and filled our stockings and we exchanged our gifts to each other.  We decided to go big this year and really spoil ourselves because we both worked very hard in 2013 and we should enjoy the fruits of our labor.


First thing after we woke up, I nursed P and then did Jillian’s Shred.  Then Kyle did the Shred.  And then we coffee-d ourselves up.




I think it’s safe to say, we are chocolate lovers. 

Even though I fully intended on eating sweets for breakfast, I decided to get something more substantial in my belly too.

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I really need to figure out how to use my (new) cast iron skillet because our breakfast hash turned into mashed potatoes and I nearly ruined my pan.  🙁

I was so pissed because I ended up having to use soap and water and scrubbing it rather vigorously (both no-no things for cast iron maintenance).  I re-seasoned it afterwards with olive oil, but I’m scared to use it again now.


On the breakfast menu: Tofurky Italian sausage, eggs, and potatoes.  All fried thankyouverymuch.


Salsa for him.

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After grubbing we watched football and P fell asleep on Kyle.

All that excitement from his stocking alone!  Ha!  He successfully made the transfer to the crib and continued to snooze so we opened some presents in the meantime.


OMG. Yes.

Anyone who knows me knows this kind of torture is right up my alley.  Dear Jillian, I love you and I hate you. 

I can’t even wait to start the body revolution – it has 15 (!!!) DVDs and it designed to be a 90 day program so I’m gonna be set for a while. 


After P woke up I fed him and myself.  My nice well balanced lunch included leftover sushi, chocolate, savory quick bread, mimosa(s), and more chocolate.  Role model, I think so.


Kyle was on board, so at least we were all in the holiday spirit together.


This car took me almost an hour to put together and I was sweating by the end of it but it was SUCH a huge hit.  Patty-cakes was playing in it non-stop for the rest of the day we didn’t even bother opening the rest of his gifts!  Thanks grandma and bumpa!


After P went to bed we had dinner “al fresco” style (lots of nibbles) which had all the usual suspects including olive oil and sea salt roasted almonds, crackers (GF & wheat), assorted artisanal goat cheese, smoked salmon, carrots, and hummus.


Now that peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame seeds are out (and a few other things but I’ll talk more about all that later) we try to eat eat them only when P isn’t around.  Lots of changes around these parts.  I am still taking it all in and processing what this means for our diet as a family going forward. 

Thank goodness for Redwood Hill Farm.  I still feel fancy with my Mary’s Gone crackers and raw milk feta and camellia.  The feta is so salty it’s phenomenal by itself or with a little something sweet (dried fruit!) and the camellia tastes complex and rich, almost like brie.  Kyle actually preferred it to the cow’s milk brie he had (leftover from my parents’ holiday party). 


And that was only part 1!

The next day we hopped back down to the Bay to spend the 24th and 25th with my parents.  Stay tuned…