p.b. and j

The latest lunch boxes

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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.

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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).

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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).

Weekly Recap

This week was fun.  Busy and not busy in perfect amounts.  One thing I’ve noticed about working part time is there’s a big (HUGE) difference between 2 shifts and 3 shifts.  It may not sound like it, but I feel like the time off allows me to get so much more done.  And rather than fill it with errands and chores, I can actually hang out and relax and enjoy myself.  It’s lovely. 

Here are some of the things I ate this week.

Breakfasts

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Baked oatmeal bars with blueberries [sorry about the crappy pic] and peanut butter.

I failed to take a photo of the huge dish I made, but it was bomb.  Initially I was going to try and make granola bars, but I scraped that plan half way through and just made a really thick oatmeal bar instead.  I didn’t write down the recipe but I will next time.  It had all kinds of yummy stuff in it – chia seeds, blueberries, goji berries, almond flour, oats, and coconut oil.  I ate it before work on Saturday, and then made another serious dent in it on Sunday morning, and then finished the whole thing off on Tuesday morning. 

Monday morning was a savory one though.

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Two fried eggs with roasted potatoes and ketchup. 

I’m on a mega pepper kick.  Not usually my thing, but hey, I’m just gonna roll with it.  Don’t worry I’m still a salt fiend through and through.

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After Tuesday’s breakfast I was out of fresh baked goodies, so I made a loaf of banana bread for the next few mornings. 

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I had a slice before swim lessons on Wednesday morning.

And then another afterwards.  With nut butter.  Always with nut butter.

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Another slice with an egg.

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For work breakfasts I have been doing hack versions of the classic PB&J.  [Meaning I ran out of jam and have been using fresh fruit.  And almond butter instead of peanut butter.]  Blueberries on Thursday and banana slices on Friday.  Both on Udi’s GF millet chia bread.

I like sandos only because they are easy to eat one handed while pumping at work.

I pump before my shifts too, but since I’m at home I have a table and can sit and eat like a proper human at the same time.  Multi tasking for the win.

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Here’s the 6 am scene.  Banana bread and coffee.  Hands free thanks to the nursing bra!

Lunches

Admittedly I suck at remembering to photograph mid-day meals.  I’m just too busy doing other stuff.  I make a lot of snack plates though so you aren’t missing much.

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See? Snack plate with leftover roasted potatoes, carrots, daiya cheddar, and hard boiled eggs.  I probably had nuts on the side too because it’s rare that I don’t have nuts at a meal. 

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This may sound crazy but this was my first time having tamales. 

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Impulse buy from Whole Foods. 

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I really liked them!  I didn’t know what to expect, but they were yummy.  The outside corn layer is thick so there wasn’t a ton of inside stuffing – I’m not sure if that’s how tamales normally are.  I thought the ratio was good.  Just enough tofu and veg.  Without the guacamole it has the potential to be a bit dry, but maybe not.  I will for sure buy again.

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I had one for lunch with Sabra’s classic guacamole.  Truth: I had WAY MORE guac than as pictured. 

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Salad with greens, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, and Beyond Meat.  No dressing.  Just olive oil and salt.

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Snack plate.  The amount of peanut butter in the bowl is deceiving.  There’s at least 1/2 cup.  No shame.

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Work lunch: brown rice pasta with parsley, basil, and kale tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds, salt & pepper. [Greens/herbs from my garden, lemon from my neighbor]

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Work lunch: salad with greens, tomato, roasted potatoes, smoked cheddar goat cheese, and quinoa.  The quinoa was an afterthought once I realized the salad probably wouldn’t hold me over.  I also added some organic miso ginger dressing

Snacks

I have a few recent repeat offenders in the snack department, so here they are.

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I never liked (okay, I hated) banana chips growing up, but for some reason I felt compelled to buy them this week.  It was my healthy compromise since I really wanted chocolate covering everything from the bulk bins.  Ummm, so yeah, they’re really good!!!  I’ve been enjoying them as a dessert too.

Oh and Kombucha has reared it’s expensive head back into my life as well.  On the daily.  Budget fail.

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One thing that has saved a little cash flow is making our own trail mix.  As you can see above, it has raisins, cashews, peanuts, dark chocolate chips, and gluten free cereal puffs.  Not terribly innovative but definitely cheaper than the pre-made stuff.  The most important thing is that the nuts are salty so they cover the raisins in salt too.  Mmmmm.  We POUND through trail mix like nobody business so this is huge for the bank account.

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Between my breakfasts and snacks, I’m going to make another loaf of banana bread tonight since this one is almost gone.

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Always always always.  All day long.  Nuts for nuts.

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Work snacks: buckwheat granola (meh), carrots and celery, banana, Hail Merry vanilla maple almonds (love!!!), quinoa granola bar (didn’t try yet).

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Work snacks: buckwheat granola, carrots & celery, trail mix.

Dinners

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Baked tofu, Mary’s Gone crackers, raw goat cheddar, grapes, Milton’s crackers, and salty roasted almonds. 

A typical al fresco meal, but indoors (because it was so hot!). 

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Seitan & quinoa bowl with sriracha vegan aioli.  There’s chard from our garden under there somewhere.

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Vegan and gluten free tamales. 

This was round two of the aforementioned tamales (even though the pics are from the first serving).  I had the rest of the guacamole (yup, the entire tub just for meeee) and two more tamales.  Can I get a pat on the back for stopping (when I was full) after eating 3 tamales, rather than just finishing off the 4th one just because it was there!?!  So unlike me!

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Quinoa with salmon and tomato slices.

Those tomatoes were some of the most flavorful ones ever.  Thank you home-grown produce

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Imitation WF fumi salad.

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Post work assorted mish mash.  [I had the same thing the following night of work too, so no photo]

Holler if you want recipes to any of these and I’ll try to eventually share!

That’s how we roll

So…hi again! 

I took some time off.  And it was lovely.  Maybe too lovely?  It made me wonder if quitting HHH was an imminent reality…

My free time is so precious now.  But I do love having this space to share my latest food and life stuffs…

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But I have a job.  And a kid.  And a husband.  And yadda yadda. 

I’m triaging my life like a freakin’ ER nurse.  Priority #1 is family.  And as you have now noticed, the blog is definitely on the backburner.  That’s how I roll.  C’est la vie. 🙂

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This was good by the way.  Not too much pineapple (I like pineapple but try to minimize most dried fruit because of the FODMAPs).  The balance of chocolate, dried fruit and nuts was all really even.  And it had crunchy stuff in it (brown rice crisps?) that made it not too heavy, even though it was a pretty dense bar.  Yummy flavor too.

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I made another baked spaghetti.

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Just as good as the first!  Maybe even better since I used the tomatoes from Kyle’s cousin’s garden.  I’ve never ever ever tasted such juicy tomatoes – they were so ripe they were oozing with flavor.  Incredible!  I halved the marinara sauce in the recipe and used plain tomatoes instead because their flavor was so phenomenal and they were basically soft enough to make into tomato sauce. 

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My own garden is thriving too.  I have kale and chard growing like whoa.  No complaints here. 

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I made this random little meal with more of the produce from Kyle’s family and our own greens.

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Chard, kale, cold baked potatoes, tomatoes, & smoked goat cheddar.

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Topped with TJ’s balsamic glaze.

That was my work lunch, while the below was (part 2) my breakfast (part 1 was a PB&J).

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I was going to get strawberries last weekend at the farmer’s market but the blueberries looked way too awesome.  Done and done.

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My PB&J (okay, it was actually a sunbutter & jam) sammie was on this bread.  It’s my new favorite Udi’s bread because it’s got some superfoods in it.  I have been keeping it in the freezer and only thawing pieces as I use them, which I think is better at preserving it’s texture/consistency.  Sometimes GF bread gets dry and crumbly when it’s not fresh.  

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Post-work snack plate with hard boiled eggs, goat cheese, Mary’s Gone crackers, and chocolate covered strawberries (from a patient’s family).

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Brown rice, peas, pesto.

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Brown rice, pinto beans, Sabra’s mango salsa.

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Thai peanut zucchini noodles.

And so on and so forth…heyo for the non-cafeteria work eats.  My hospital’s caf isn’t really too impressive, but it redeems itself with free coffee if you bring your own mug.  Decaf me up please! 

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[Doesn’t P look like he’s into the java too!?  That’s how he rolls.]

I know I’ve whined about pumping and missing my boys and all that jazz, but I really like my new job.  I am finding my groove, slowly but surely, and it does feel nice to have another purpose outside of what I do for my family. 

It makes the days off extra special (hence my desire to stay far away from the computer). 

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We have been up to so much!  We have swim lessons, mom and baby group dates, and mastering new things…like rolling!

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See you when I see you!

Workity work

Hey!  I’m alive!  Ish.

This week was crazy.  [Life is crazy]  So many emotions. 

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Adjusting to working again after maternity leave is one thing.  Adjusting to a new hospital and orienting to the new unit environment is another.  And adjusting to spending the day away from my love is yet another.  All these changes require me to be flexible and cool with change, which isn’t my strong suit. 

I’m a creature of habit with a bit of OCD mixed in (what nurse doesn’t have OCD/Type A tendencies, tell me that).  Sometimes this is a good thing (like in an ICU setting), but it’s also something I have to be aware of (so that I don’t let it ruin the spontaneity of life).  Anyway.  None of this has much to do with this post, but it’s just worth noting since I’m now navigating all these new routines and schedules and re-evaluating my roles in life, as a working mom.  Trying not to freak out when things don’t go the same way they’ve been going for the past few days/weeks/months is something I have to consciously work at.  I’m sure it’s a natural and passive part of most people’s persona, but not mine.  It’s enough to have a new kiddo who is changing each and every day, but adding in moving to a new city, starting a new job, and all that jazz.  Lots of variables for a new parent!  As soon as I get in the groove, something else changes.  I like things just. so.  [Type A alert!!]  I’m getting better at adapting and just rolling with the things that are out of my control…mostly because I don’t have a choice and I can only micro-manage so much. 

Clearly, I’m a nut job.  Clearly. 

Instead of going on and on about my neuroses, how about I show off my packed up work food? 

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For breakfast I had an AB&J bagel.  The almond butter is fresh-grind from the Co-op and the jam is raspberry (home-made by my mom).  The bagel is an Udi’s mighty bagel.  So good.

[Mom, we’re on the last jar of jam, so I need to get more next time I’m home! Remind me!!]

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Snacks: carrots/celery, nuts, veggie chips, hard boiled eggs, strawberries, and a Larabar lemon pound cake ALT bar

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The ALT bars are on sale at the Davis Co-op and I think the lemon pound cake is my favorite flavor.  I’m really into citrus (especially lemon right now).  May have something to do with the fact that I stare at my neighbor’s orange and lemons all day long. 

By the way, the above packed food was for a half day’s worth of eats (hence the absence of a real lunch). 

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This is how you do a savory breakfast!  I made a cauli-egg stir fry before the week started, so I had it ready to go. 

On the side I chugged down some decaf.  I had the first half of the french press while pumping (I leave before P wakes up so I pump and leave the bottles for Kyle).  I take the second half of it with me to the hospital.  With almond milk and stevia. 

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Lunch!  Brown rice, goat cheese, broccoli, strawberries, & TJ’s balsamic glaze.

Snacks not pictured?  Who knows where the rest of the stuff went.

One of the things I’ve realized is that I am less able to eat my meals with a fork/spoon (because I pump on my breaks) so hand-held things are preferable. 

Sandwiches and bars are much easier when it comes to multi-tasking, so until my pumping days are over, I suspect I’ll be eating fewer things with silverware.

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See?  Look at all the nut butter and jam sandos!  I only had 3 slices of Udi’s bread left, so I made 1 1/2 sandwiches.  The half was sunbutter & raspberry jam, the whole one was (the last of the) almond butter & raspberry jam. 

I ate the half in the car before work.  I ate the second one while pumping.

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Bananas are another good thing to snack on while pumping.  We have a bunch at the perfect stage of brown right now (I love ‘naners with brown spots, no green ones for me thanks).

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Mini Larabars are also perfect bite-lets.  I wish they sold the sample sizes.  I have no idea where these came from, but I have a few more in my bar stash.  Carrot cake is not a typical Larabar flavor for me to buy, but it’s really good!  I’m thinking it may replace cashew cookie as my fave right now.  Although the chocolate ones are pretty awesome too. 

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Another day’s eats!

As you can see, breakfast was roasted potatoes (made in advance) and hard boiled eggs.

Lunch was cauli-egg stir fry.

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Snacks were carrots/celery, strawberries, banana, nuts, Dagoba chocolates, chocolate coconut chew Larabar (!!!), and a Van’s cranberry almond bar that I didn’t end up eating.

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Voila!

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Three key things that have helped ease this transition process? 

  • Food prep /meal planning
  • Having a supportive spouse and family
  • Picking the right job

I could (and should) write a whole post on how fantastic Kyle is.  I know I did a lot of prep before the work week started, but he was still amazing at executing the plan to his Type A wife’s specifications.  Super dad.  He also brought P to visit me at the hospital on my lunch break so I could nurse him in person rather than pump.  These are the perks of living and working in a small town.  I love it. 

Child care is another discussion that deserves a more detailed post, but suffice it to say, my family has been wonderful in offering up their babysitting services.

As far as picking the right job goes, I lucked out that I found the perfect fit for me both in the location of the hospital as well as the position.  For now, it’s rough because I’m new and on day shift, but soon enough I’ll be on night shifts and everything will fall into place.  Then I won’t have to miss days with this guy.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that I live super close to the hospital and the staff is awesome. 

Even though I did cry a bit (and there will probably be more tears to come) the first week+, I also feel really happy at the end of my shifts.  I’m proud of the work I do and I’m excited to come home to my family.  It’s a win win if you look at it the right way.  But it’s definitely a balance, because I don’t want to spread myself too thin. 

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I mean, look at this face!  I don’t wanna miss anything! 

Father’s Day weekend

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Another fun one.  Saturdays and Sundays are my faves because I get to spend them with both my boys.

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Friday evening Kyle BBQ-ed some shrimp and corn and I made a salad.

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I marinated 2 pounds of shrimp in Garlic Gold red wine vinaigrette.  It contains garlic infused olive oil and red wine and Italian seasonings.  No garlic, so it’s totally FODMAPs friendly.  And the shrimp were freakin’ delish.

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We got way too much.  Clearly.  But that means easy lunch leftovers.  Before is above, after is below.  Yeah, I bought cooked shrimp again.  I’m a wuss.  Raw shellfish still gives me the heebie jeebies.

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I really can’t express how good the shrimp were.  I’m suddenly a huge seafood fan – and this marinade was really easy and really yummy.

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That said, the rest of the meal was just as amazing.  I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite thing.

Corn and melon are SO summer.

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I have had this cantaloupe for over a week.  I ate the first half long ago, but the second half has been in the fridge waiting to be used.  I decided I better get on it before it went downhill, so I used some in this salad (and froze the rest in chunks – awesome smoothies in my future!).

Let’s talk about this bomb salad.

Melon & Goat Cheese Salad [vegetarian, FODMPAs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 3 large handfuls spring greens
  • 1/4 medium cantaloupe
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled (I used Laura Chenel’s chevre)
  • 2 tbsp TJ’s balsamic glaze

Directions:

Combine everything together (make as pretty as you want).

I scooped the melon out in thin slices, but cubes work too.

If you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s balsamic glaze, you can make your own (I think you just reduce balsamic vinegar on the stove top until it’s a thick sticky consistency).

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So good!

I never thought much of the role of cheese in salads (having gone years and years asking for it be omitted), but it adds a LOT.  It’s creamy rich consistency goes so nicely with the fruity flavors.  The contrast of sweet and savory is pretty stellar.

I think it would be fabulous with citrus too.  And since we have oranges aplenty from our neighbor’s tree, you’ll definitely be seeing this again.

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Oh and another warning, we got lots of corn for super cheap at the Farmer’s Market, so you’ll be seeing lots of it in the coming week also.

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Dessert!  I ate half of it (3 bars of the 6).  SO GOOD.

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The next morning was leisurely.  Hooray for weekends!

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I tried a new to me granola by Udi’s.  The vanilla flavor wasn’t too strong, but I liked that it was a simple blend with just barely sweet oats and almond slivers.

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Plus an egg on the side for protein.

We went to the Farmer’s Market later on, stopping by a field of sunflowers on the way.

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It’s a few minutes from our house and we thought it would make a great photo backdrop.

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I ate an entire bag of kettle pop kettle corn at the Farmer’s Market.  Salt and sugar together are impossible to resist.

Then P fell asleep and we went for a walk around a new (to us) park up by the hospital in North Davis.

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For dinner (slash afternoon snacking) we continued our weekend tradition of al fresco dining.

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Newcomers to the group this time included dry roasted almonds with salt & olive oil (omgomgomg!) a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.  Anyone know how to pronounce that champagne name by the way?

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This uber fancy bottle was gifted to Kyle (last year) for his graduation from MBA school by my bestie Alene.  It’s so special it has it’s own clothes…

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The almonds were from the Davis Farmer’s Market – from a farm called Sam Cabral and Family Orchard.  They have lots of nuts and olive oils, but these caught my eye immediately.  They’re crazy good.  Who doesn’t love salt?

The rest of the eats were goat gouda (farmer’s market), strawberries (farmer’s market), Mary’s Gone crackers (GF for me), and wheat crackers (for Kyle), and hard boiled eggs.

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These berries melt in your mouth.

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I got buzzed right away and had to pause so I didn’t impair my ability to nurse.  So we had seconds and thirds of the food…until evening came and we put P down.

We stayed up late(r than our normal 930 bedtime) to watch Suits.  My sis gave us the first season on DVD and we are almost done.  Love it.

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The next morning was not a sleep in day because we had plans for Father’s Day!  I packed a AM&J (fresh grind almond butter from the Co-op and home-made raspberry jam) on Udi’s GF tortilla for the road.  FYI, the tortillas are the best GF brand I’ve had in terms of replicating the texture of flour, but they crumble pretty easily.  Still a huge fan though.  Will definitely buy again and again.

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Hello old friend lover.  Decaf soy misto.

When is Starbucks going to get on the almond milk train?

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Our big plans?  U-Pick fruit right in our own ‘hood.  I almost don’t want to share this hidden gem, but for any locals, the Cloverleaf Farm has stone fruit and blackberries that are super ripe and dirt cheap.

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We got a pound of blackberries for $2.50 and 6 peaches for $2 (they’re $1/lb).

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Last time I was at a U-Pick he was on the inside!

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He fell asleep on the way home.

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After he woke up, I changed and fed him and then we headed to downtown Davis for lunch.

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Just look at the Crepeville menu.  There is SO MUCH stuff I want to try!

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Kyle and I split a couple of things, including the Midtown Benedict (left) and the Fuji salad.  The Benedict had with poached eggs over fresh sliced tomatoes and avocado on english muffins topped with hollandaise and a side of house potatoes.  The salad had mixed greens with glazed balsamic vinaigrette, fuji apples and home-made caramelized walnuts.  We got the gorgonzola cheese on the side.

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This was by far the favorite.  I gave Kyle my share of the english muffin to keep things wheat free.  The potatoes were out of control.  We were both mmmmm-ing like fools.

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Either our eyes were bigger than our stomachs or their portions are really generous because the side of tuna salad that I got (in anticipation of adding it  the salad) was totally unnecessary.  But hey, lunch for tomorrow!  Kyle did finish off the focaccia along with the apples and cheese from the salad.  And I took down the rest of the salad by myself.  It was legit.

The meal was excellent, the service was quick (even though it was packed from all the family meals due to graduation and father’s day), and the price was totally reasonable.  Needless to say, Kyle and I were really pleased with Crepeville and will definitely be returning.  Probably should try the crepes next time.

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We walked around town for a while and returned home once P fell asleep.

His afternoon nap lasted quite a while, so Kyle and I watched golf and sipped on iced tea.

After he woke up (and I changed and fed him) we went to Target for a few essentials.  “A few essentials” turned into a lot of stuff, but whatever.  When Ghirardelli’s has a sale on chocolate, it becomes an essential.  Am I right?  Presents for mom and dad meant P deserved something too…so we got him a toy…just to be fair.  And stimulate his senses.  🙂

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We were going to BBQ for dinner but the propane tank was empty when Kyle went to fire up the grill, so I improvised.

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Veggie burgers (365 southwesterns flavor) on the stove top + chipotle lime mayo + quinoa salad.

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I made this mayo by combining Nasoya’s vegan whipped nayonaise with lime juice and chili powder.  So simple, but so fun for the taste buds.

Kyle ate his on toasted bread (Village Bakery sells their bread at the Davis Farmer’s market for buy one get the second for a $1).  I ate my burger just piled atop the quinoa.

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Quinoa salad with tomatoes & corn [vegan, gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (or the yield from 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa)
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 green onion, sliced (green parts only for FODMAPs people)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Combine everything in a bowl and toss until well mixed.

If you want to stir in the chipotle lime mayo (recipe below), I think that’s a brilliant idea too.  I plan on it next time!

Chipotle Lime Mayo [vegan, gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo (I like Nayonaise whipped)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp chili powder

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together.  Adjust chili powder to preferred spiciness.

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After dinner we played with P and his new toy.

After he went to bed, I cut Kyle’s hair and we dug into our own treat.

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This is basically a fancy Milky Way bar.  It’s soooo gooooood.  I had 4 pieces and probably would have had more if Kyle hadn’t stopped at 2.  It’s not that I am self conscious about my chocolate consumption (trust me, that’s long gone), it’s that I didn’t want to dominate the bar we were supposed to share on Father’s Day.  Tomorrow though, all bets are off.  Chocolate fairness does not exist on the average day.