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Throwing in the towel

Well guys.  I caved.  Apparently it takes just two weeks of solo parenting for you to give up on financial self control.  I went to farmer’s market last night and my friends literally coerced me into ordering the instant pot on the spot.  Had I not forgotten my phone I’m sure I would have done it then and there, but I promised them (practically signed with my blood!) that I’d text them a photo of my order that night.  So I did it.  I talked to Kyle on his layover in Heathrow and he told me to definitely go for it.  And now I have all kinds of weird emotions about it.  A little bit of buyer’s remorse, but at the same time, I know for sure I’ll use it because HELLO I have a food blog and I love food and recipes and no kitchen gadget will go unused under my watch, but you know me and spending money…blah.  I think I just feel weird because I haven’t had my partner around for so long that my exhaustion is just manifesting itself in a bunch of different ways.  Anyway, to spare you from a full therapy session, I will quickly change the subject to my breakfasts.

I had coffee before and after stroller strides.  The chilled one was home-made I just reused the sun and soil bottle.  The other juice is beauty and the beet (a beet, carrot, ginger, greens combo).

We had music class and then I raced over to get P from school and brought along their lunches.

Every Wednesday is a picnic on the lawn at school after they get out.  People pack their own (nut free) lunches to bring and the moms and kids all socialize.  It took me a month and half to get my act together and pack lunches the night before, but we finally got to picnic with everyone.

One of my friends brought a bunch of coconuts and cracked them all open for us to have fresh coconut water (and then I ate the meat off the top).

Anyway, it was super fun and I’m going to try to do it with more regularity because both kids love it and I definitely enjoyed hanging out with my fellow mamas.  All five preschool classes do it (the 3s and the 4s) and it just further builds the community that is already so strong.  But man oh man, I wish I didn’t have so many things already on Wednesday mornings because it’s non-stop from the second I drop him off at school.  Maybe the instant pot will help me when I realize last minute on Tuesday night that I need something to pack for lunches and everything is frozen.

I had food when I got home.  Finished off those chips right thurrrr.

And those are the only pics I have for the day because I left my phone at home when I went to market.  It was SO FUN.  I love when the weather is good, our friends are there, the kids dance their hearts out, and – the coolest part of all right now – we can buy food for us all!  I didn’t pack anything for the kids and they chose what they wanted and it was all safe and good and they happily ate every bite. V got pizza (and took down the entire massive slice), P got a hot dog (ate the dog first and then the bun second) and I got a spring salad with tri tip (it had bleu cheese which I thought I didn’t like, but maybe I do???) and it was really really good!  I helped the kids eat first and ate my food after they were done and off dancing.  That’s also when the instant pot harassment went down.  Oy.  My friends really do love me.

Breakfast winner. The recipe is here.

With cashew butter.

You can see how much I ate the day before too.  My goal is to make the whole thing last four servings. I have to actively stop myself though, or it would be 1-2 servings.  It’s so gooooood.

This snack break at “school” combined two of Valley’s favorite things, reading books and eating (at the same time!!!).  She was pretty happy with that.  Followed by circle time and then outside play.

Where she always races to get a stroller and baby doll.  This time she nursed her doll on the go. Multi-tasking a little young, but whatever. 😉

I had massaged this huuuuge amount of kale the night before, so I was all ready to make a salad with it after the kids were done with their lunches.

Our fridge is really quite barren at the moment but I went pretty simple anyway.  I didn’t feel like nuts so much, so stuck to miso dressing, avocado, and carrots on the side.

I was definitely hungry by the time we got to my parents’ place later that evening.  We left for the East Bay straight from Pacman’s soccer practice and hit lots of traffic on the way.  Yuck. Normally it wouldn’t matter if we were late going to their house, but I had a 6:30 book signing in Oakland to get to.

My parents had dinner all ready for me so I could skedaddle out the door asap.

My bestie is an author 🙂

Remember how I visited her a few times last year?  It was a post chemo celebration for her.  And now she has written a children’s book to make something positive come out of her sh!tty experience. She is amazing.  And a good reminder to keep from throwing in the towel on life.  Because crap happens, and you can respond with a brave and fierce attitude (much like V and her broken leg) or you can throw a pity party.

I came home after and ate chocolate covered cashews while watching the Packers. AND GUESS WHAT!?!  My husband is back!!!  Hooray!  Now P and I are back in Fremont for OIT after 3 weeks off.  So happy our family is reunited.  Happy weekend everyone.

The first pumpkin patch of the season

In the last week TWO of my friends have bought the instant pot as a direct result of how much I’ve been raving about it. And I still don’t have one!!  WAH!  All the recipes I keep flagging are instant pot recipes too.  I need to get a grip. [Update: it’s in my cart, I’m pulling the trigger as soon as Kyle gets home on Friday and I can confirm that he didn’t get me one for my birthday.  I’m hoping he got it for me, but he doesn’t read the blog so he doesn’t really know the extent of my obsession.]  Can someone plan next week’s meals for me, por favor.  I’m pooped.  Ok, done whining.  Let’s get down with the food stuffs.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Dessert

Unpictured: coffee with coconut milk (still out of Califia, still haven’t gone to the store), more roasted almonds with lunch, extra truffle after the dessert plate was finished

V and I went to Jamba Juice after library.  They have new pumpkin drinks out that I may have to go back to try.

He fell asleep after his quiet time when he came to hang out with me in the living room…school definitely tires him out.  But I woke him up shortly thereafter because we had a play date planned for the pumpkin patch.

It was 90 degrees soooooo…not very Fall-like.  But still fun.

I scored some big pumpkins.

The corn bin was way bigger than it has been in past years.  V was more interested in testing her balance though.

I was hot and dirty and ready to go but then they started up the “cow ride” (tractor pulling cow carts) and I figured why not?  These are the moments that my kids will remember, right?

Honestly, I thought it was a blast, but it was definitely fast and bumpy.  V got scared half way through (and it was a looong ride with lots of wheelies and dirt hill speed bumps, etc) so that shows you how wild the ride was (she’s my fearless one!).

He was super into it though, and pointed out every ghost, skeleton, witch, and what have you along the way.

We were all covered in dirt by the end 🙂

But we came home with three pumpkins, two spider rings, and three smiling faces, so it was for sure a win.

Definitely a bath before dinner kind of night though.

Leftovers met with enthusiasm!  Thinking I may as well wait for the weekend to go shopping at this point…especially if we go to farmer’s market.  I think I can stretch our fridge and pantry stash until then. Challenge accepted.

Pumpkin banana breakfast bake

I wouldn’t call this a cake, but it’s not made in a bread pan, so it’s not a loaf.  Either way, it employs the same formula that I use whenever I bake quick breads, only I used a casserole/cake pan, so call it whatever you want. I call it delicious.

It’s lower carb because I used coconut and almond flour and stevia to sweeten it, but it’s still made with pumpkin and banana, which are obviously carbohydrates. 🙂  If you don’t want to go the stevia route, you could use whatever liquid sweetener you want (honey, maple syrup, agave) because I mixed the stevia in 1/2 cup warm water so as to account for other forms of sweetener without adjusting the liquid in the recipe.

It’s gluten free, grain free, and dairy free, but I don’t think this would work without eggs…but who knows?! Aquafaba may be able to stand in for them.

I baked it at night and was so excited to dig in the next morning for breakfast.

Perfection.

Pumpkin Banana Breakfast Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 small ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup hot water + 3 tbsp stevia (mixed to dissolve)
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, add the bananas and mash them, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir to combine.  Next add all the dry ingredients and again mix until it’s all uniform.

Pour into a greased baking dish.  I used a 7 x 11 pyrex but anything in the 2 quart realm will work (ie 8×8).

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Top with nut butter to your heart’s content.  Or don’t.  It’s good plain too.  I eat it straight from the pan because it’s just me – why dirty something else?  But if you’re more refined than I, slice or scoop on to a plate and enjoy.

It’s about 4-6 servings, depending on what kind of toppings and appetites you are dealing with.

Yum!

I hope you like it!

The pumpkin cliche

She’s a blur in real life and in photos.  That’s her nature.

My morning plans fell through so I went to stroller strides.  I’ve basically been going twice a week since Kyle’s been gone because it’s all I can do to keep my sanity.  I switched to the unlimited for this month.  I don’t know why but the kids both love it.  P doesn’t get to go unless it’s on a Friday because he has school on Mon-Thurs mornings, but he always seems sad that V gets to go without him.  I have no idea why they enjoy it as much as they do, but I’m not questioning it.  It’s actually my treat to myself, but they think it’s a kid activity, soooo win win! And if nothing else, having them see me happily exercising and socializing with my friends all the time will plant the seed of a positive image of fitness in their minds.

I ran a ton of errands after strides and before picking up P, so that felt awesome as well.

Same salad, different nuts.  I added salty almonds by the handful as I ate this salad.  I think I ended up consuming about a cup’s worth.  Not bad.  I find if I add a bunch in the beginning I end up having seconds and thirds anyway, so I may as well start with VERY few and just add as I go.

Using up the last of the gobble stuffs (because I still haven’t gone shopping) for dinner, including the udon noodle stir fry kit items minus the protein it came with (I used the chicken two weeks ago).  But I had steak so I just used that instead.  This noodle kit gave me two separate meals because of how much it came with!  The noodles and sauce were definitely enough for more than the two portions it was supposed to be.  Winner!

At the end of his quiet time, P came out to join me in the kitchen and helped me make dinner.  Dude was stoked that steaks were on the menu.

Can you see the part of his hair that he twirls???  Ha.

Since I was making this in advance of dinner, I just wanted to cook everything separately and then (re-heat) and assemble later.

First I seared (and lightly cooked) the steaks, then I took them off and used the same pan to cook the veggies in some of the mushroom “gravy” sauce.

Meanwhile I showed P how to spiralize zucchini.  Once the veggies were done, I fried the noodles.

Once we got home from soccer I sautéed the zoodles with the sliced steak.

Oodles of noodles and zoodles (and veggies and steak).

My portion had, like, a week’s worth of veggies.  So good!  And I still have more sauce leftover!  The gobble portions are no joke!  And for me to say that means something because I eat above and beyond what the USDA wants me to every single day.

I baked a banana pumpkin thing that night too, in between football, snuggles, and dessert.

I had forgotten Kyle got me these a while back and I could hardly decide which to open first.  I went with the toffee and sea salt.  It’s really good stuff.  It’s dark and tastes like real bean to bar chocolate. But is still sweet enough to keep me interested.  It’s a nice fancy pants bar that still has the allure for those of us who like trashy sweets.

I had some See’s too, naturally.  BUT.  YOU GUYS.  I broke a record with this dessert.  I didn’t finish everything on my plate!!!!!  I’m not even joking.  My sweet tooth actually got a little overwhelmed by the See’s and I had to stop (!!!) before I ate the last truffle.  I don’t even know who I am right now.

Anyway, look forward to the recipe for this because I (dun dun dunnnnn) wrote it down!  Again, I’m blowing my own mind with all these uncharacteristic events.

I think it’s now 100% fall because this dinner used up the last zucchini from the garden and I baked a pumpkin dish immediately after.  The cliche is real.

Yard work and football

Apparently I lack the brain power to come up with meals after a week without Kyle…we have done tacos two nights in a row (no complaints from the little people) and tonight I did nachos.  Basically with all the same stuff but in a different arrangement on the plate.  In case you couldn’t guess, I haven’t gone to the store or meal planned for the week ahead.  This weekend was move in for the UC Davis students and I hesitate to make the comparison, but you can probably guess what the shelves at TJs look like right now.  Things are sparse everywhere.  Only we are lucky as ^%$# because unlike the rest of the world, our food supply gets replenished as soon as it’s out. Minus Califia. I don’t know where the hold up is with their products. Here’s a bunch of donation options for Puerto Rico. 

These chips aren’t as salty as the Costco ones I usually buy and therefore didn’t lure me into eating 1000 more than necessary.  You’d think that would make me happy, but I missed the salt and felt sad.  Looks like I would rather binge on delicious chips than eat in moderation. Who would’ve thought?!

We started the day by feeding every creature (dolls and animals alike) breakfast.

I was getting changed into workout attire while this went down but had to take a pic when I came into the room and saw what they were doing.

Hilarious.

They ate a snack while I towed them around in the bike trailer.  I rode for a solid 35 minutes listening to the latest Radiolab podcast and they seemed to enjoy the whole thing (probably the snacks). They are heavy, so it is definitely a work out.

After that I made coffee and showered while they played for a couple of hours because we had breakfast plans at a friends’ house.  I brought roasted sweet potatoes and didn’t take any pics the whole time until the very end when the (foster) kitties came out.

He sang to this one (who he dubbed “didi”) for a while.

I made a salad for lunch while watching football. Flashback!  Remember that one time I ate this for lunch 365 days in a row. I was a little late to eat because I was doing random other housework and crap (both kids decided to nap today!) and then as soon as I got everything done on my list and made food and got myself settled (finally sitting down!) with this bowl of yum in front of the TV…V woke up. BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE WOULD.

I read her the same story 6 times while eating lunch and then Kyle facetimed us and P woke up and sprinted downstairs because he heard dada on the phone and didn’t want to miss out.

So then we spent the afternoon gardening.

My little helpers were actually fairly helpful.  Mostly not, but they didn’t derail anything and loved doing any “task” I gave them, so it was a win win.  And now the yard looks 100% better.

So much pruning!  So many leaves!  And I finally got all the fruit trees sprayed too.  Hopefully I can keep on top of the yard as we transition to Fall and then I won’t end up with the rainy wet nasty leaf situation we had all last winter.  I think I already removed enough branches to avoid it, but I could probably fill 4 more compost trash cans, but I keep having to wait until trash day so they get emptied and I can start again.

They aquadoodled while I “made” dinner.

And after lots more playing and baths, P and I snuggled together and watched football.  My very favorite Sunday activity of all time.

He is the best.