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…

My everyday life


This is a small snack.  The “before” photo is so clean.  Let me tell you, persimmons make one hell of an “after” photo.  Like a blood bath!


Naps are complicated.  When they happen, I’m on cloud 9.


Lunch in peace and quiet. 

That’s nearly a whole bag of TJ’s lacinato kale by the way.  Tossed with quinoa and coated in creamy broccoli soup.


We put up our tree and hung our stockings.  P loves all of it.  He says “de” and points to all the things.  He wants to communicate so badly.


I made three loaves of banana bread and have been eating it over and over and over for breakfast. 

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As you can see, it’s always topped with PB and paired with a fried egg.  The combo doesn’t get old.  Me in a rut…shocking.  [Sarcasm]


Teething sucks.


Kyle food.  Huge tupperware of brown rice, lentils, spinach, corn, and Fresh ‘N Nova’s thyme flavored hummus.

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Best way to season a dish.  I made it for his work lunches but it only lasted two servings. 

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Elise food.  Gotta repeat the faves.  Nachos on the left, stew on the right.


And my all time number one lover, creamy dijon tempeh spinach casserole.

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I served it over quinoa.  Win.


Dude, it makes it hard to assemble when you eat the instructions. 

My parents got a high chair for P and it took mega muscle strength to put this bad boy together.  Seriously, I love Graco’s intuitive designs but this was not as simple as some of their other items.




Went home for the weekend again.  Wait til you see the Santa pics.


I love Brussels.

Peace out!

Ice cream maker!!!

Going old school with the “what I ate” style blogging.

For breakfast I went to Crepeville with a coworker.  She was just getting off (a really crappy) night shift, so she vented to me and I listened.  P spent the morning throwing things from the stroller to the ground.  Whatever keeps you amused little man.


I got the tofu scramble which comes with both hash browns and a bagel.  The portions at Crepeville are massively massive (LOVE!!!) so I took home the leftovers for Kyle.  Which is the bagel you see above.

Seriously Crepeville has never disappointed me.  I freakin’ love the place.  We have another breakfast date next week and I kinda wanna go to Crepeville again.  Maybe I should get a crepe one of these times.

Anyway, for lunch I had more brown rice pasta with hemp pesto, spinach, and a fried egg.


In the afternoon I had a serious fro yo craving so I busted this guy out…


Kyle’s parents hooked me up with this beauty for my birthday and I can tell it’s gonna be a blessing and a curse.  I cleaned it and froze it so the next day I could get my frosty dessert face on.  Send me recipes!!!  If you have a good non-dairy recipe, please leave it (or a link) in the comments section.

In the meantime I made a smoothie.  I got these fresh juiced greens in the mail a few weeks ago from Juice-Today


Because they were immediately frozen after they were juiced, they tasted like they were freshly pressed! 

I blended the green one with canned coconut milk.  Love!  Highly recommend this product!  You can make your own mixes too.


For dinner I had the rest of the cheesy broccoli soup with a big salad. 

The salad had forbidden rice, sweet potato, carrots, spinach, and tofurky Italian sausage. 


All mixed up.

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I had chocolate for dessert.  Justin’s now makes candy bars.  OMG omg OMG!  They also sell their PB cups at Costco.  Just what I need…a Costco sized pack of peanut butter cups.  So about this candy bar.  Yes.  If you see it at your local grocery store just do it.

Vegan sausage stew & other faves

I followed last week’s fitness and meal plan almost 100% (like 97%)!  [I’m just as shocked as you are]

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The only thing I’m not posting a recipe for is the lentil “meatloaf” – but that’s because I’ve shared a few others already.  This one was most like the mushroom version (the first link).

The kale salad I made is basically this one.

The chili recipe is here.

And last, but NOT EVEN REMOTELY least, is the sausage & spinach stew.


Okay, so this is my favorite dish at the moment.  I had the leftovers for lunch and dinner and then lunch twice more.  And each time I couldn’t wait to dig in.  So warm.  So comforting.  Hearty and filling while also light and clean (and vegan).  I’m already planning on making it again next week.

Italian Sausage & Spinach Stew [vegan]


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 5-7 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 Italian flavored vegan sausages, sliced into half moons (I used tofurky brand)
  • 3 large celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 3-5 yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 4 (+/-) cups vegetable broth


In a large soup pot, add oil and sauté onions until translucent.  Next add spinach, basil and sausage.  Let the sausage bronze and the greens wilt, then add the veggies and broth.  Increase or decrease the broth depending on how thin or chunky you want the soup to be.  Then cover with a lid and let it simmer until the veggies are cooked. 

If you want, you can chop a few of the potatoes smaller so they over-cook a bit and get mushy to thicken the soup even more. 


Before cooking (above) and ready to serve (below).


Freakin’ fantastic.  This is like leftover Thanksgiving stew for vegans.  Mmmmm… 


On the dessert front, I only have one slice of birthday cake left.  🙁

Good thing I have Halloween candy and cookies exploding from the treat drawer. 


On the beverage front, I’m obsessed with both of these guys.


I only bought the vanilla bean crème brulee coffee because Target was all out of the decaf pumpkin flavor.  Boo!  But this was a winner of a backup, so I’ll buy it again.  The Stash tea is the only decaf chai variety that I’ve ever liked in the history of ever, so I’m pretty stoked.  I’m a chai-a-holic, but haven’t been into any of the non caffeinated versions I’ve tried (there aren’t many to choose from).  This is also one of the cheapest teas I’ve ever bought.  Pretty good stuff. 

I’ll be back later with the game plan for this week. 

Little food secrets

Here’s a dirty little secret.  I cover up one corner of toast in 99% of my photos because they have one bite taken out of them already.


I don’t know why, but I always take a bite out of the bread before I put it in the toaster.  What can I say…I’m special.  Or I lack patience.  Either way it doesn’t make for a nice photo, so I always manage to cover it up with another piece of food or crop it out of the photo entirely. 

My first breakfast is above (GF toast with Earth Balance & greens with a fried egg on top).  But lately I end up eating two breakfasts.  It’s amazing what getting up early and breast feeding will do to a girl’s appetite.  I don’t even recognize the old Elise who regularly skipped breakfast and opted for coffee over all else.  Granted, that morning trend was mostly during my college and New York days, when time was rarely on my side.  It’s amazing how styles of eating evolve. 


This is my newest obsession: Udi’s gluten free blueberry cashew granola clusters.  I love me some clusters. 


The larger clusters tend to rise to the top of the bag, so those got plucked out right away.  Straight to my face.  :)  But the rest of the bag was spoon and bowl status. 

I never realized how much I love blueberry flavor in granola.  But ever since this home-made batch I’m obsessed.  For the FODMAPs people, you can read a more thorough post about the ingredients on my other site. 


Hmmm…what was in this thing?  Greens, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, Daiya mozzarella, and 365 tortilla chips.  Random or Mexican themed? 

I always save the bottom of the bag crushed chips pieces for this purpose.  Excellent salad topping! 


Afternoon snackage in the form of a Lundberg brown rice cake with banana mash and peanut butter.  This banana was so close to going south that I don’t think it could even be considered a solid.  That means it was super sweet though. 


I should have added sea salt on top.  I’m alllllll about the salty sweet combo.  I never used to get why people thought chips belonged in a PB&J, but now I can definitely see the allure.  Bacon French toast, however, still demands some convincing.


While I’m on the subject of bacon.  There’s this guy.  I’m usually a loyal consumer of Lightlife’s tempeh bacon, but the tofurky brand was on sale, so I gave it a go. 


The nutritional stats are pretty comparable, but the ingredients of tofurky’s smoky maple bacon are slightly more FODMAPs friendly.  Both have soy and wheat, but tofurky’s doesn’t have dried onions or “spices”.  It does have molasses though.  I dunno.  It’s basically a wash. 

They taste pretty different.  There’s a much more pronounced tempeh flavor to the tofurky kind.  For those who like the flavor of tempeh, this is a good thing.  But if you’re on the fence with the characteristic nutty taste, maybe go with the Lightlife kind instead.

Since the protein in my lunch was pretty much absent, I made a macro bowl thing with both the tempeh and hardboiled eggs.


The squash is a kabocha I roasted earlier in the week. 


I should have waited for one of the cooler days to crank the oven, but no.  I chose to roast this guy on the nearly 90 degree day. 

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Before and after.  Sliced into wedges, rubbed in olive oil, and cooked for 35 minutes at 375. 


All I did was add a bit of Bragg’s aminos.  Oh and cut off the skin of the squash.  Some skins aren’t terrible to eat, but I don’t recommend it with a kabocha.  Do other people eat the exterior of the squash or is that another dirty little secret Elise-ism? 

After this bowl was finito, I had another few slices of tempeh plain.  And another kabocha wedge, which I ate like it was a slice of melon (classy). 

I had candied ginger and dark chocolate on the late night.  And by “late night” I mean after P went to sleep at 9 pm.  Pretty much right before my own bedtime.