stir fry

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.

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! 

Feelings, “rice” and rice

I am…

[So many ways to end the phrase]

(a) crazy – from being by myself with an infant for almost two weeks
(b) tired – for the same reason
(c) proud – for landing an awesome job
(d) nervous – for accepting said job
(e) excited – for a visitor this weekend
(f) lonely – because I haven’t met many people in Davis (yet!)
(g) anxious – to begin a new chapter
(h) happy – to spend money without feeling guilty
(i) relieved – that Kyle is returning home today (fingers crossed)

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Oh!  And I’m full. 

I made cauliflower “rice” and I’m pretty sure it’s one of my new favorites.

I know what you’re thinking.  Cauliflower is not rice and it cannot replace rice.  To which I say, correct, I agree.  BUT!  I think it’s honestly delicious in it’s own right.  And for the record I was just as skeptical of the whole cauli rice concept prior to making it.  [Although I think that’s because I’ve only had it in the past in a raw “rice” form, which was not flavorful and way too rough on my gut]

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This is definitely not lacking in flavor.  And I felt fine after eating it, despite the fact that cauliflower is a FODMAP food (I tolerate the polyols category best of all the FODMAPs though).  For other FODMAPs people, < 1/2 cup is generally considered a safe serving (unless you are especially sensitive to polyols). 

I’ll get to the recipe later.

First I’m gonna share my day ’o food.  Because I took lots of pics and I feel like it.

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Breakfast numero uno.

Can you even tell what’s going on under there?  Probably not.  Here’s the situation pre-almond milk.

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Overnight oats: whole rolled oats, chia seeds, goji berries, stevia and cinnamon.

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I’m lovin’ on the goji berries as of late.  Superfoods up in hurrr.

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Breakfast numero dos was a lot lot lot of nuts (eaten while I made the above balls).  I single handedly finished an entire Costco tub of roasted nuts while Kyle was gone.  And then I went to the Co-op and bought more and finished those off.  Yeah.  I’m blaming it on breast feeding.

For lunch I had the cauli rice stir fry that I made the previous night.  Technically I made this over the course of the week because I “riced” the cauliflower several days ago, but didn’t use it right away. 

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Cauliflower meet food processor. 

I just pulsed (and scraped the sides down in between) until everything was super teeny tiny.  It took less than five minutes.  Then I tupperwared it up and waited until I had time to do something with it. 

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Cauli Asian Stir-fry [vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, “riced” in a food processor/blender
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tbsp sliced green onion (green part only for low FODMAP people)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2-3 tbsp tamari
  • [optional] sesame seeds / peanuts

Directions:

First rice the cauliflower in a food processor as described above.

Next add the sesame oil to a pan, heat to medium/hot and add the cauliflower.

Let it fry up and cook.  Once it starts to get soft add the carrots, celery, and onions. 

Let those cook a bit, then add tamari (the amount varies due to the variable size of the cauliflower used).  Then the eggs.

Continue to work a spatula through the stir fry so the eggs mix into the cauliflower and everything cooks.

Serve with sesame seeds or peanuts (if you want). 

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Some of the pics are blurry because I did a lot of the frying (and photography) while holding P.  And he’s not exactly into being still. 

I like talking to him while I cook and telling him what I’m doing.  Because I’m a nut job. 

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Ta-da!

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This was really really good. 

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I ate it in two servings, separated by only an hour.  Because after I had some I realized it was way too good to not finish. 

Cauliflower is impressively versatile.  I never thought it could get fluffy like it does in this recipe.  It’s soft and risotto like, making this a cross between a scramble and a paella type of dish. 

If you don’t eat eggs, try it with tofu, I’m sure it’ll be great that way too.

After lunch I went on a walk with with my sidekick, showered, made a smoothie, (see below), changed and fed him, and went to the Co-op to get a treat for dinner.

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Fresh strawberries, frozen banana, almond milk, lactose-free plain yogurt, ice.

And for my dinner…

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This sushi is pricey but that’s because it’s good stuff.  Sustainable and made to order at the Co-op.  I consider it a treat though because I can’t justify spending $20 on 2 rolls very often.  But I was feeling like I deserved a splurge since I got a job and had made all my other meals (except the lunch my mom treated me to) while Kyle was away. 

I get these same two rolls each time: brown rice real crab roll and brown rice mermaid roll.

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The mermaid roll is out of control awesome.

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I ate it way too quickly.  It’s sooooo goooood though. 

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After the bedtime routine I had twp squares of this guy.  I can’t find this exact bar online to pink to, but it’s by Lake Champlain, and was a post-partum gift from Kyle that got lost in the hospital-to-home shuffle, but reappeared in the Santa-Monica-to-Davis shuffle. 

Eggs as the feature

The last few posts have had more elaborate (for me) meals, so I figured I’d throw a few of my stand by quickies your way.  I don’t usually take photos of the boring repetitive meals because they’re not that exciting.  But I don’t cook fun things all the time and it’s only fair to show my lame side (lest you think I’m super homemaker hippie). 

Eggs.  The cheap protein that can be the star of any meal in a minute. 

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Basic Veggie Egg Fried Rice [vegetarian, gluten free, FODMAPs friendly]

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp garlic infused olive oil (or 2 tbsp sesame oil + 1 tsp minced garlic for the non FODMAPs people)
  • 3 cups cooked rice (I used wild rice but any rice will do, the older it is the better)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 5 eggs
  • 2-3 tbsp tamari
  • [optional garnish] 6 green onions/scallions, sliced (green parts only for FODMAPs people)

Directions:

Heat a large pan, add oil, then add rice.  Toss it and let it snap crackle and pop so it really gets crispy.

Turn down heat to medium and add veggies.

Once veggies have mostly thawed, crack in the eggs.

Scramble them into the mix.  Once fully cooked add the tamari and stir throughout.

Finally top with the chopped onions/scallions.

Notes:

Any veggies will work, carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, edamame, etc.  Get creative!  Likewise, any grain can replace rice, like quinoa, farro, couscous, etc.

For a vegan option, try tofu or tempeh instead of eggs.

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As long as you’ve made the grain in advance, this meal comes together in minutes.

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Look how huge Cascadian Farms’ frozen peas are!  Normally organic produce isn’t so massive.  I like.

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Action shot before the eggs are cooked.

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And voila!

The next one is just as simple.

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Hummus and Avocado Loaded Baked Potato [vegetarian, gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 baked potato
  • hummus
  • avocado
  • hard or soft boiled egg

Directions:

To bake the potato: scrub and poke with holes, coat in olive oil and salt, bake for 60 minutes at 425 degrees F (or skip the last step and microwave for ~8 minutes, flipping once halfway).

To hard or soft boil the egg: Boil water and then place eggs in the boiling water for 5-8 minutes.  5 minutes will be soft boiled, 8 minutes will be hard boiled.  Afterwards run cold water over them and refrigerate.

To assemble: Cut the potato down the middle and load everything on!

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Other delicious topping ideas include salsa, plain greek yogurt, grilled mushrooms and onions, and fresh chives.

But there’s nothing wrong with hummus and avo and eggs.

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Eggs are amazingly versatile.  If our house were zoned appropriately, I’d get a coop up in the yard right now. 

Quinoa shrimp fiesta bowl

Is it weird seeing seafood on HHH?  It’s weird to me.

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But for some reason it’s not weird eating it.  Probably because I’ve been dipping my toes back into the world of fish for a while now.

This dish was fan-damn-tastic.  I’m tooting my own horn (even if it was Sandra Lee-esque in preparation).  I don’t have time.  You don’t have time.  None of us have any time.  This is as close to home cooking as it gets when you have a 3 month old.

Let’s just jump right into the recipe.

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Quinoa Shrimp Fiesta Bowl [gluten free, FODMAPs friendly*]

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cooked shrimp
  • 10 oz frozen veggies (I used a stir fry mix with green beans, broccoli, carrots, bean sprouts & onions)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fajita spice mix (recipe following) + 2 tbsp water
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • toppings/garnish: pico de gallo, guacamole, lime wedges, cilantro

Directions:

Cook quinoa and set aside.

Heat a large pan with oil and add frozen veggies and shrimp.  [If your shrimp isn’t pre-cooked, add that first and don’t add the veggies until the shrimp is cooked.]

Cover with a lid so the steam helps cook everything.

Once veggies and shrimp have thawed remove the lid and add the seasonings and water.  I used a fajita mix from my father in law so it was preservative free and delicious.  There are plenty of spice rubs you can purchase from the store, but they’re easy to make, too.

Fajita Spice Mix

  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder*
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder*
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

*Omit these to make FODMAPs friendly.

Reduce heat, allow seasoning to coat veggies and shrimp, and wait for water to cook off.

And that’s it!  You could make your own pico de gallo and guacamole.  Or you can do what I did, and rely on Sabra to help you out.

*FODMAPs people, watch out for onions and garlic in your salsa.  Also pick a veggie blend that doesn’t include onions (or just avoid them when serving yourself, like I did).

Assemble bowl: quinoa, shrimp stir fry, salsa/pico de gallo, guacamole, and fresh lime juice.

Now the photos…

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Honestly, I think this is the first time I’ve ever prepared shrimp in my life.  I had no clue what I was doing, which is why I chose pre-cooked frozen shrimp from the co-op.  I’m happy to report it couldn’t have been easier.  I didn’t even bother taking the tails off.  I just plopped the whole ice block of shrimp in the pan and thankfully the lid helped steam it off and all was good.  Maybe soon I’ll get adventurous and try getting fresh shrimp or uncooked shrimp.  Baby steps.

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Anyway, how delicious does this look??

Kyle and I both looooved it.  There were zero leftovers and we were both completely full and happy.

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This was the spicy Sabra guacamole by the way and it had a nice kick to it.  Not too much heat, but it still let you know it’s there.  Ordinarily I’m a plain avocado kind of girl, but Sabra’s guac is my fave because it’s got fatty chunks of avo in it.  None of that faux green mash.  I’m a California girl.  That fake stuff is just sacrilege.

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For the win!