Uncategorized

Peanuts and instant pot

Let me see how fast I can share my foodie adventures from the non holiday part of the week…

Breakfast on the go.  Plus a banana.

A new Urbany Remedy salad, compliments of the Fremont WF.

The noodles were on the mushy side TBH.  Not sure I’d get it again.

But I made it extra good with the addition of…

PEANUTS!

Oh my gosh, you guys, I can’t even tell you how exciting this was for me.

I forgot how GOOD they are!?!?  Ever since we got far enough into OIT I feel okay bringing peanuts back into the house.  Now, I’m not sure I’d eat this meal with P around (he was napping), but he eats almost three peanuts worth of protein as his dose every day, so that’s pretty close to the safe zone that graduation brings (aka “bite proof” status).

For dinner I made the classic bean and beef chili from Melissa Clark’s cookbook.

It was easy, but (to be perfectly honest) VERY time consuming.  There was a lot of chopping.  And sautéing in separate pans.

I’m not sure if the instant pot really saved time or enhanced the flavors more than doing it in a slow cooker, but to be fair, I’ve only made chili once in the slow cooker and didn’t do it from dried beans, so I have no way of comparing.

This recipe makes the pinto beans from scratch.

Which was super fast and I didn’t even have to think about it (I was at library with V while the instant pot did it’s thing).

The only tweaks I made were using half pork and half beef (instead of all beef) and decreasing the amount of jalapeño to 1/2 instead of 2 (!!!).  Seriously, it was the perfect amount of heat with half of a jalapeño, I can’t imagine what kind of palate Melissa Clark is cooking for.  Not mine!

When it was time to eat, I served it with avo and cilantro (and green onions for Kyle) on top.

Delish!  And it made SOOOOO MUCH!  Like, we will be eating this for the next month unless I freeze half of it.  It’s perfect though, because Kyle will happily eat this for lunches every day.  This was also the kids’ first time eating chili and I wasn’t sure how they’d feel about it, but they both loved it and had seconds and asked to have more a different day.  So it looks like chili is going to be a more regular meal up in here.

Another “first” for the kids…faux bacon!  Considering how much P looooooves bacon (it’s his favorite food – just ask him!), I was pretty skeptical about how this would be received.  But I told them it was bacon made out of tofu (two things they love, what’s not to like!?) and they took to it immediately.

I baked it in the oven, and they both had some with their breakfast (cantaloupe, banana, and home-made coconut flour muffins).

I had a piece with my breakfast too (cashew butter on Nourish bread).

Thanks to my weekend prep, I had a bunch of soggy (massaged) greens with tessemae’s Caesar dressing.  I mean, I made it for three consecutive days over the weekend, so it was a safe bet that I’d want it again during the week.

With chicken, coconut bacon, and carrots.  I added it all to the huge tupperware, but only ate half, thereby eliminating the need to dirty a bowl.  I didn’t want to eat too much anyway, because it was actually 3 pm when I finally got a second to eat (UGH) so I didn’t want to ruin my appetite for dinner.

Because I’d had such a late lunch, I switched dinner plans between Wednesday and Thursday to have a lighter meal option.

I made this salad on my birthday a few months ago – it’s a Cookie and Kate recipe.  It was met with mediocre reviews last time, but for some reason, this time they inhaled every last bite of the kale before even getting to the chickpeas and sunflower seeds (which are usually their favorite).  FYI, I didn’t serve them separately, but they pick things out to eat in whatever order they want (and I don’t care how they eat it, as long as they do).

Kyle’s version had cow parm, but mine had pecorino romano.

And then the kids asked for more kale.  And I died and went to heaven.  The End.

Dessert day 🙂

The next morning was a breakfast on the go kind of day…I took V to a Spanish class (for me!) which are offered at our local Elementary school (where P will go next year) because it’s a two way bilingual immersion school.  They want the parents of the kids to be able to support their students as they learn a new language, so they have group meet ups with instructors a few times a week.  I figured I may as well get started now because my Spanish is RUSTY!  I had coffee and this seasonal Sun and Soil juice while there.  The Flash tastes like spicy pineapple juice and it is awesome.  It’s pretty sweet, but thanks to the turmeric and cayenne, you definitely sip it slower than you would otherwise.

I had the rest of this salad for lunch plus the rest of the coconut bacon.

Time to get to work on dinner.

I made yet ANOTHER one of Melissa Clark’s recipes.

This was the Vietnamese chicken and rice soup.  I took a pic before filling the bowl more because it’s not very photogenic when all you can see is broth because everything else sinks to the bottom.

Knowing how her spice palate differs from mine, I tried a very small amount of jalapeño on top.  But that was more than enough. Really, much more.

This recipe was good, but not a wow like her salmon was.  Still, it was easy and the kids went nuts for it, so there’s that.  It also made enough for lots of extra meals, so leftovers FTW.

What I really liked about this recipe was that it made it approachable for me to use new things, like star anise, cloves, and sushi rice, in a very easy way.  I’ve wanted to make my own pho but the idea of making a dashi broth from scratch was intimidating.  With such a simple soup, the stock is everything, so it has to be good.  Using the instant pot with Melissa holding my hand and telling me all I had to do was throw it in a pot with some home-made stock gave me the courage to give it a go.  And it was easy!  And now I have star anise in hand, as well as the confidence to try another brothy recipe in the future.

Raving about dinner in an instant

After a super lazy Saturday, I decided to start Sunday off with stroller strides.  That got my day going!  Yowza – the ‘Boost’ Sunday classes are always an insane workout.

I had two muffins for breakfast with cashew butter.  These were almond butter coconut flour ones with dried cranberries.  My friend made a batch of these “paleo” muffins for me back when V broke her femur and I had the last few in the freezer, which saved me since I hadn’t done any prep yet.

For lunch I made a Caesar salad with kale, chicken, and coconut bacon.  AGAIN.

I had some skewers in the freezer that I thawed out just in time.

Tessemae’s Caesar dressing is so so good.  I’m going to have to ask Nugget what the deal is, because I only have two more trips to Fremont in my future (if all goes as planned…) and that means my Whole Foods access is coming to a close too.  Get ready for the waterworks, guys.

I bulked up the leftover quinoa dish from a few days prior for dinner.

Which basically means I massaged more kale with a champagne vinaigrette and then added extra pecans and chevre.

Easy as that!

I was out later than normal the night before because I’m now on the steering committee for our MOPS group and helping out with event planning since one person stepped down.  That’s all to say, I didn’t have any dessert and ended up going to bed a little hungry…which means I woke up veryyyy hungry.  And then after an early morning workout…I was starving!  Carbs!  Stat!

Enter this sweet potato casserole.

I brought a bunch home from Christmas at my parents’ (because it was the best thing on the menu!) and then froze a portion of it right away.  Glad to have it now.  It’s soooo good.  Super comforting and sweet and delicious.  All things you want in a breakfast.

We had originally planned on going to brunch at Pushkin’s since Kyle had the MLK holiday off, but then we looked it up the day before and realized it was closed.  Whoops.  Sweet potato casserole it was!  Too bad since I was realllly looking forward to the coconut yogurt vegan parfait.  That thing is unlike any other.  Moving on.

Look familiar?

I can’t stop making this lunch!

New cookbook alert!

Since this Melissa Clark article is basically what SOLD ME on the instant pot in the first place, I figured it was only right that I buy her book, Dinner In An Instant.  She’s a regular NYT contributor for those who don’t recognize her name, although you should, because I think she’s the new Bittman.  Or at least another Bittman. Anyway.  Her new cookbook is all for electric pressure cookers – focusing not on what the IP CAN do, but what it SHOULD do.  She’s hits it up for it’s strengths, and knows how to write recipes and develop flavors, so of course, I had to see what she had in mind for me and my new kitchen toy.

First up, Vietnamese Caramel Salmon.

D. A. M. N.

This is THE BEST salmon to ever come out of my kitchen.  I’m not kidding.  I’m never making salmon any other way again.

Excuse the hyperbole, but I’m not even sure how to say it any other way.  This caramel sauce was out of this world.

 

And the best part of all was how easy it was!  And fast!

Totally a weeknight meal.

And the way my kids devoured it is ensuring that it basically will now be a weeknight staple.

Oh!  And Trader Joe’s finally got good salmon!  This fish was from Nugget, but that’s only because I went shopping there first and have never bought fish at TJs before because it always looks so meh.  But now I will!  Because the fish was packaged differently now and looked awesome.  Our bank account is shuttering at this very moment.  Life is short, though, you gotta splurge on something and for me that may have to be salmon.

I served it with rice and roasted asparagus.

We were all fighting over the caramel sauce.  And in case you were wondering, it was super easy to clean up.  The whole recipe is basically 3 steps thanks to the sauté function of the pot.  Sauté, add fish, pressure cook for a minute, remove fish, sauté.  Done.  Drool.

And then I had this.  Kinda an extraordinary food day if I do say so myself.

Reese’s pieces saved my sanity

I love me a long weekend!

On Friday I drove to and from Fremont.  It’s the first time I’ve done it all in one day without going to my parents’ place on Thursday for a half way point reprieve.  It was do-able though, because we were only there for one single up-dose (as opposed to the full 5 hours that a bunch of updosing would require).  We left at 6:45 am and arrived at the Fremont Starbucks by 8:30 am.

NO. NO. Notorious.

We passed the time with the usual bag of tricks…and I brought a few new cds for him.  He was all about Phantom of the Opera.  Good to break up the current rotation at our house of Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela African folktales.

He struuuuugled through the pre-dose I gave him in the waiting area.  And then again through his one and only updose from the RN.

I had already begged them for alternatives to the ground up peanuts (because of how much he detests the peanut crumbles), but he wasn’t yet to a high enough dose for peanut butter or peanuts.  Until now!  Hooray!!  The MD came in a talked with me for a while and he decided we could try Reese’s pieces.  WEE!!!  I always knew Reese’s pieces were an option way down the line (thanks to the facebook group I get glimpses into our future), but because they have dairy (to which he is allergic but in maintenance) we were told we’d have to wait until at least a month after he graduated peanut to eat his allergies in combination.  But because he’s had no issues with dairy – even eating up to double his maintenance dose of 4 g – the doctor thought it would be ok to let him do the Reese’s now.  THANK.  GOODNESS.  I think once they saw him fight the dose so much in person they understood what I was talking about.  He’s normally so compliant and agreeable, this is the first time they witnessed the struggle of force feeding a child something his body wants to reject.

I was so tempted to do another dose then and there with the chocolate peanut butter pieces but knew that I should be patient and give his body the gift of time to adjust to the amount.  He only has two more doses until graduating and obviously it would be nice to just bang it out and not drive back and forth to Fremont each time for a single up-dose.  BUT.  When the amounts get so high…I just fear it’s just too much accumulating.  Slow and steady wins the race right?  Except it’s not a race.  We are in it for the long haul and he’s already gotten farther than I could have dreamed of in one year’s time, so I’m just counting my blessings.

I sold P on the Reese’s pieces by telling him he could try “candy” for his dose later that night.

I had this for breakfast.  P stole some sips too.  He loved it.

Beta boom!

After a 90 minute wait we were cleared to go home.  But first!  A WF shopping trip to get all the goodies I can’t get in Davis.

We made it home by 3 pm, which was great timing considering it was the Friday before a 3 day weekend.  I was quite pleased that P napped for an hour of the trip so I could listen to a podcast.

He was a little needy when we got home, which I wasn’t expecting since he napped, but I always forget how his whole body is affected by oit.  We only ever look for the symptoms that would indicate an anaphylactic reaction, but his mood is sometimes thrown off after such intense mornings.  It’s a lot to ask of such a young person.  I took him for a walk around the neighborhood – just the two of us – to give him a chance to adjust to being home and I think that helped create the transition that he needed.

We had dinner plans with a friend that night, so I quickly cubed and roasted a butternut squash while making quinoa in the instant pot.

This was my first time making quinoa in the IP and it was awesome how fast it was to make such a large amount.

Cheese!

My friend made meatballs and green beans to accompany my quinoa dish.

I made a simple vinaigrette with champagne vinegar that I poured on everything.  The kale wilted a bit because I added it to the quinoa when it was hot, so that it would have a steaming effect.

In addition to that, the dish had roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and chevre.

Beautiful.

On the way home, P ate his dose.  And guess what?!!  He didn’t hate it!  I’m trying not to focus on the fact that he’s now eating total crap as a form of daily dosing and just be happy that he’s excited about it.  Fingers crossed the contentment sticks.  The main issue we have with dosing now is that he likes something fine the first time, but then hates it every time thereafter.  I can’t keep surprising him with a new way of eating peanuts for every day of his life!?  Deep breath.  Maybe the Reese’s candy will help his palate adjust to the flavor and then we can swap in a more nutritious option…down the line.  For now, I will appreciate the fact that I don’t have to fight with him about taking a dose.

Speaking of…

I bought a peanut filled trail mix from the WF bulk bins.  Because I can now.  I feel like Kevin McCallister…”I’m not afraid anymore!  Did you hear me!?  I said, I’m not afraid anymore!”  We officially have a peanut product in the house.

And I had some for dessert that night.  With some of TJs extraordinary bark.

We had a nice little Saturday with nada on the agenda.  I had some carrot cake muffins that I pulled from the freezer.  They have carrots, raisins, and walnuts.  I topped them with cashew butter too.

I thought I’d give this a try instead of buying Califia’s mocha almond milk, but it’s not really as good.  It doesn’t taste sweet at all, which ordinarily would be a good thing, but it still has 10 g of sugar per serving, so if I’m not tasting that sugar then it’s a waste in my eyes.  It actually tastes decent as a drink on it’s own – basically like a chocolate milk made of cocoa (as opposed to a fake sweet chocolate flavor) so that’s good.  But it can’t fill the shoes of Califia, so I’ll probably pass on it next time.

I made a super awesome salad for lunch, thanks to the Tessemae’s Caesar dressing I bought at WF.  I bought two because they were the only two left.  Why are these dressings so hard to track down!?!  They used to sell them at our Nugget but they stopped carrying them there.  And I think I saw them once at Target, but they don’t have them there anymore either.  So now I have to either order them from the website and pay $9 shipping (no) or track them down every time I travel to another WF and then buy every single one the store has.

I massaged the kale with the dressing, added baked chicken and coconut bacon, and dug in.  Heavenly!

The highlight of our Saturday was P eating his first REAL pizza at a friend’s birthday party.

This is why we do oit, guys.  He asked if he could have some and was so excited when I said yes.

Sushi dinner for all (Nugget Market’s weekend ‘secret sale’ was buy one get one free, so I got four rolls for us all to share).  The kids had just eaten pizza, so I figured we didn’t need much more and I was right.  We all had just enough to fill up with no leftovers.  Hooray!  And the entire sushi dinner only cost us $12.

New flavor that I found at WF in Fremont!!  It was SO GOOD!

It has a spicy kick to it that left a warmth in my throat but not too much heat.  I totally loved it and will buy more whenever and wherever I next find them.  Thumbs way up!

Oh, and P ate Reese’s pieces again and liked them.  I think they are growing on him!  He’s never eaten a peanut dose so fast in his life!  Without any nagging or anything!  It’s a miracle!!!

I’ll get to Sunday and Monday in the next post…

FLASHBACK to 2016

I just found this post in my drafts folder.  FROM two years ago!  It was so fun to read it because even though so much has changed, at the same time, so little has changed. Here’s a glimpse into March of 2016…

 

El Nino is something else.  We swap extremes in weather with the East Coast seemingly every other week or so now.  It was gorgeous sunshine at the outset of March and then we had a two week stretch of gross that kept us indoors (while NY was all hot and bothered), and now it’s beautiful as can be again…and snowing (??) in Philly.  So weird.  Kyle’s in Philadelphia now dealing with said chill factors, but I can nearly promise this post is far from live when it gets published so who knows what either coast is doing!?  At the moment, I’m distracting myself from doing prep work because it’s ALL I’VE BEEN DOING for the past two weeks.  To be fair, it’s all because I’ve been out of town for back to back weekends and want to make babysitting the kids as easy and effortless as possible.  Oh did I mention we are going to Hawaii in a second as well?  In case I never said anything here on HHH (because who knows what I remember to share or not share these days…) my sister is getting MAUI’ed (sorry – had to do it) in early April and hey look, it’s freakin’ April!!  Showers, bachelorettes, and all that jazz have been filling my non-mom-ing time, which is why the blog is totally radio silent.  I’m getting back on track.  Starting with this quick recap of a fun weekend from a decade ago.  Back when it was rainy.  And I wasn’t out of town.

IMG_4806IMG_4807

Not much has changed.  Waffle game stronger than ever.

IMG_4809

Per usual, I made an extra (for the next day).

IMG_4811

This was our last weekend session because we are switching to week days (due to all the Saturdays coming up that we would have to miss).  The swim america make-up policy for Pattycakes is pretty much there is no make-up (unlike the baby and toddler classes).  Sooooo yeah, now we have another week day activity.

IMG_4812IMG_4813

This is a beautiful thing.

IMG_4814

This is the Green Valley organic lactose free cream cheese on a toasted Udi’s bagel with smoked salmon.

IMG_4826

We went to a science fair at a neighborhood school along with every other family in Davis looking for something to do in the rain with kids.

IMG_4816IMG_4818IMG_4819IMG_4820

I made a Moroccan chickpea dish for dinner, which was a nice change up.  It had unique flavors and fresh herbs and didn’t take too long to assemble.

I still may prefer this recipe though, to be honest.  This one is also on my radar.

Their favorite Brussels

Breakfast rut of the moment is home-made cashew yogurt with granola and cashew butter.  It’s reallllly good.

Salad making.

I went big with avo and goat cheese on this one – usually I pick one or the other.  And after a decent amount of massaging the balsamic vinaigrette into the kale, the chevre and avo made the most wonderful coating on the greens.

What a beaut!

Unfortunately this messed up my gut a bit and I felt a little blah for the rest of the afternoon.  My GI tract has been pretty good lately so this was a rude awakening that I have to keep myself in check.

I re-heated the leftover pork and squash dish from the other night and served it over rice to stretch it enough for a full meal.  I am so pleased that this meal ended up being a full 8 servings.  Totally got my bang for my buck with the ingreds.  Pork butt isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely affordable when it can be made over into an extra meal.

I had the same breakfast again.  Plus some more snacks at a preschool parent coffee get together.

For lunch I made a chicken salad with the leftover thighs from this meal.

It had mayo, mustard, avo, and coconut bacon.  With carrots and crackers on the side.  I completely overdid it on the crackers and felt super full for the rest of the day.  Doh!   It’s all the coconut oil in the crackers.  It’s addicting, but also really filling.

I made this lentil salad again for dinner.  And (also like last time) served it with roasted Brussels sprouts.

If it aint broke…

We had a bit of free time between naps and our afternoon activity so I decided to bake cookies with the kids.  They wanted “banana cookies” and since we had brown bananas on the counter I said “let’s do it!”

We made three baking sheets’ worth but only put chocolate chippies in the last portion of the batter.  They are essentially the same recipe as my pancakes I make them only with a different ratio of wet to dry ingreds in order to get the right batter consistency.  Also, I used cane sugar (because I usually don’t add sweetener besides fruit to their pancakes).

They ate four that afternoon so I think they turned out alright…

Plates for the wee ones.  I served their lentils before adding the nuts and cheese.  I’m sure V would like both, but I know P wouldn’t and since I have to feed him peanuts against his will already, I want to make the rest of his meal as enjoyable as possible.  He seriously hates peanuts, which is a common problem for kids doing OIT (per the OIT facebook group), but I am hoping we can find a way to get past this without it become a big drama.  Hiding the dose in the last few bites of his dinner seems to be the best way right now.  I’m trying not to ruin foods for him, like applesauce has now been, by diversifying how I give him doses on the daily.  🙁  It’s a crappy game I have to play, but the end game is so worth it.  I just hope he doesn’t hate me for being the one who he associates with this part of his day that he dreads with every ounce of his being.

I didn’t mean to get into all that.  We’ve had a rough month.  I try to stay upbeat about it here because it’s really such a positive thing, I want to be an advocate for OIT and encourage everyone with food allergies to seek treatment…buuuuuut, I’d be lying if I made it seem like it was all easy peasy.  It’s a strain in a bunch of ways.  It’s emotionally exhausting – for me, for him, for the whole family.  It’s stressful and worrying – and that’s not even touching the travel.  Or the ways we’ve had to ask my family for help.  I would still do it without hesitation again and again and again though.

Goat cheese and hazelnuts added, time to serve it up.

Yeah baby!

It was just as awesome this time around.  And just like last time, the kids inhaled the brussels and begged for more before they finished anything else on their plates.  You would think that two pounds of Brussels would be enough for the four of us, but nope.

So happy that the whole family loved this because I looooved it.  Kyle said he would happily eat this all the time and both kids thanked me out of the blue for making a dinner with all their favorites.  I have never heard them claim that Brussels sprouts were their favorite food but I do know they love them.  Technically they say that about a lot of things, namely bacon, but either way, it’s still nice to hear.