vegan cookies

Christmas 2013

Round 2!  Actually, if you count the Thanksmas we had in Tahoe earlier in December with Kyle’s family, this is really our third Christmas. 

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No such thing as too much celebrating, right?!  Especially when it’s baby’s first Christmas.

We got to my parents’ house just in time for a few cookies.  Which provided the perfect fuel for the Niners’ game.

My little cheerleader fell asleep on my shoulder during the game so I wasn’t much help in preparing dinner.

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After we put him down we had a mini facetime sesh with my sis in Australia, wishing her a Merry Christmas.

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For dinner we had this salmon along with roasted potatoes and a simple salad.

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Yum!

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And the 49ers won too!  Double awesome.

The next day was Christmas Eve and I still had tons to get done (like wrapping all the presents!).  After a morning workout with my trainer Jillian (level 1, cd #2) I sipped coffee and made food.

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My dad went to WF and discovered tons of awesome products, including these GF carrot raisin muffins by Flax4Life.  I had one for breakfast with a fried egg.  Delightfully bready and not at all dried out or bland. 

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Next on the to-do list was baking for my grandpa, aunt, and uncles. 

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I make them quick bread every year. 

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This year I chose pumpkin bread with walnuts and golden raisins.

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As you can see, I was quite productive!

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The first ones I made were a disaster in that I overfilled the pans and they ended up hideously shaped.  Top heavy doesn’t even begin to describe them.  It’s especially weird because I didn’t even double the recipe so I really don’t know what size loaf it’s meant to make!  One thing’s for sure, it yields way more than 3 mini loaves!

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The second time I made the recipe I halved it and I got 3 normal sized (non exploding) mini loaves out of it.

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Autumn Pumpkin Bread [adapted from The Lafayette Collection cookbook, yields 3 large loaves or 6 mini loaves]

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the dry ingredients (first 6 listed) and mix.  Add in the remaining ingredients (except the raisins and walnuts) and stir to combine.  Fold in the raisins and walnuts.  Pour into 3 large greased bread pans.

Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

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Lunch on the left, snack on the right.  Oh cookies, why are you so delicious.

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Matchy matchy church outfits for the boys. 

After Christmas Even mass we went over to our friends’ house for the annual food and sing-along.  Last year I was uber pregnant and this year I got to show off my little man!  He was a champ and lasted an hour into the party (way past his bedtime) before we had to peace out to do his bedtime routine back at home.

I snacked here and there and went to bed with a belly full of odds and ends.  Stuffed though.

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Christmas morning!

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Obviously we stayed in our PJs all morning. 

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Breakfast intermission for pancakes and eggs.

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We used the entire box of King Arthur GF pancake mix, which was superb.  Highly recommend.  You’d never know they don’t have wheat and they puffed up perfectly.

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Even Mickey.  :) 

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This is my first portion.  I topped the pancakes with fresh berries and maple syrup.

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And then it was back to presents!

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Thanks to all the stimulation, Patty-cakes started to get reallllly tired by the late morning so I tried to nurse him into a slumber.  It kinda worked and even though he resisted it at first, he finally fell asleep and napped for a solid 2+ hours. 

During that time, we finished opening presents, showered, and got working on the fooooood.

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My sister made hummus without sesame seeds!!  What a good auntie.  It’s so nice when you don’t have to worry about allergens in group settings.

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I know this little guy really appreciated it.  🙂

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I always look forward to seeing my grandpa in his plaid pants on Christmas.

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It was a busy time in the kitchen and since I was helping with everything from the salad to the mashed potatoes to the crisp, I don’t have many photos.

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Here’s my plate.  Loaded with veg. 

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And here’s the crisp I made.

Apple & Cranberry Crisp [vegan, gluten free options noted*]

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 6 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup flour (*use oat flour to make GF)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (I used Earth Balance)

Topping

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (*use certified GF)
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour (*use GF all purpose or oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened

Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour into a greased baking dish. 

In a separate bowl combine topping ingredients until uniformly mixed (small clumps are fine). 

Pour the crumble topping over the cranberry apple mix.

Bake for ~60 minutes at 375 degrees F (until the fruit is bubbling throughout the pan).  Cover with foil once the top has browned. 

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I couldn’t help but dig into the chocolate (even though I already had some crisp).  My aunt brought a sh!t ton of home-made goodies, including fudge and chocolate covered this and chocolate covered that.  The best thing of all, though, was this rocky road amazingness.  I could have died it was so good.

The next morning I was back on the workout train.  I went for an awesome (chilly) run around the neighborhood.

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Then we went to brunch with my New York ladies who were back in town.  We went to La Boulange (again) and I got the quinoa, egg, tomato, avo creation above.  They finally got to meet the little pacman! 

He was so excited to be seated next to the massive Christmas wreath in the window.  He spent the first half of the brunch plucking the needles off it and throwing them at me (fortunately the wreath was on it’s last legs or I would have been more concerned).  He spent the second half of the brunch asleep on my chest (we were talking and catching up for hours!). 

Eventually we had to part ways.  🙁

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You can’t see my lunch very well, but there’s a mountain of leftovers underneath the fried eggs.  Who doesn’t love a before and after yolk goo photo?

It took us double the time it normally does to drive home to Davis.  Freakin’ Tahoe traffic.  All the New Years people must have decided to go up the day after Christmas because it was mis-er-able on the road.   Silver lining, P got a lengthy nap in and we found a new back road route from Vacaville.  Going 80 mph on a country road is actually more fun than the freeway.

Can you believe we only have a few more days of 2013!!!

December snippets

I have an insane collection of photos from the past two (three?) weeks. 

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The holidays are just so crazy.  It’s even more fun with a kid.  I feel like we are creating memories and traditions. 

Blogging has been the last thing on my mind.  Actually it’s not the blogging part that’s the issue, it’s the uploading photos and editing part.  Why is that so annoying and time consuming?  I love connecting with you guys!  I’ve missed this. 

So that said.  Here’s snippets of the stuff I’ve been eating and doing.

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Trader Joe’s gingerbread house decorated by moi.  With moral support from the little guy.  I’m glad I did this before the peanut allergy fiasco because I probably would have skipped it (paranoia, I know). 

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I bought Unreal candy (found at Target FYI) and Glutino fudge coated GF pretzels (found at Nugget Market) to decorate the house, but once I opened it I saw they included some candy.  Fine by me!  More candy for me to eat!  The pretzels didn’t even survive a day in the house.  And I’ve already gotten two more bags.

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The people at Nugget think I’m crazy because I only go there for 2 things: kale chips and GF pretzels.  And yet I’m there almost twice a week for those things.  It’s within walking distance of our house, which is the problem.  Kale cravings?  Ten minutes later I’m good (albeit $7 poorer). 

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But I’m getting off topic.

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Do you speak whatever language this is?  No?  Me either.  Oh good, there’s an English side.

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I also bought egg whites in a carton because I read the back of the box and it said you needed whites to mix with the powdered sugar to make the icing and I hate wasting parts of egg.  Sure, I could save the yolk(s) and use them to make a custard or something blah blah blah, I’m not that organized.  Easier to just buy whites and not have to deal with separating them. 

Of course I didn’t pay attention to how much whites went with the sugar so mine ended up too liquidy and I had problems getting the house pieces to stay put.  But I’m crafty and I made it work.

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Ta-da!

Ok, so that was a fun little December activity.

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Oh hey irony.  This arrived the day after we returned from the hospital.  I’ve been very anal in using it.  At first it sat rejected in the cupboard.  But then I worked up the nerve to make something with it.  Of course P is nowhere near me and I do surgical scrubbing post meal.  It’s all very new. 

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Better than Christmas morning!  Maybe not really, but very close.  I cannot wait to dig in!

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Best quickbread I’ve made and it was almost a total disaster because I forgot the egg the first time around.  Stay tuned for this recipe (how many times have you heard that on HHH lately?  I suck, sorry).

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Mom and dad’s holiday party!  Unlike last year when I was super preggo, this year I could drink!  Hooray!  I sipped on Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc and nibbled on shrimp cocktail, chocolate toffee, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s vegan thumbprint cookies

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It was a super fun night.

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These alfajores were perfection.

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Kyle got a few treats for us from the Whole Foods in Roseville the night we stayed at the hospital over there.  I know you’re not "supposed to" reward yourself with food, but sh!t man.  My heart was working overtime that day so I will do what I want for my taste buds.  Took me back to our Buenos Aires vacation.  Man, I love alfajores.

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Crock pot chili.  Easy peasy.

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Roasted green beans and tofu (as prep), and another loaf of banana bread.

As you can see on the right, the beans and ‘fu were served over quinoa with Bragg’s aminos on top.

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Another meal in a bowl.  Quinoa and egg stir fry with extra carrots, tofu and avocado. 

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Family meal!

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Vroom!

Happy Holidays to you all.  🙂

Now that’s a lot of food

Turns out I eat a lot.  🙂

Ha.  As if that’s a surprise.

Here’s my 99% complete documented eats (second helpings noted). 

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Breakfast: fried egg + 2 slices of chocolate cherry quickbread (half of one was eaten during the cooking process)

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Lunch: 3 slices of GF bread toasted and topped with avocado/egg salad + carrots + grapes + strawberries

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I get questions if I eat fruit (because I rarely show those little snacks) and the answer is YES!  Of course!  I tend to eat seasonally – so lately it’s been grapes, figs, strawberries, raspberries, and bananas (always bananas).  The main change (fruit-wise) since I started watching my fodmap intake is that I don’t really eat apples or stone fruit much anymore.  Or at least not nearly to the degree that I used to.  Cooked apples don’t seem to be too difficult on my gut and so I made a huge batch of applesauce in the crock-pot yesterday.  But it will mostly be used in baked goods or for P. 

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Lunch dessert: 3 TJ’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups + candied ginger

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Dinner: nachos

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Dessert: chocolate chip banana cookies (double the amount shown)

The next day I was out and about, so I had a quick slice of chocolate cherry bread at home, followed by a slice of GF toast + peanut butter + 1/2 banana (the rest was P’s).

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Lunch was packed (for me and Kyle) and included:

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  • sandwiches (Redwood Hill’s goat smoked cheddar with avocado and mustard)
  • grapes
  • crackers + Laughing Cow cheese
  • nuts
  • cookies

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We took a family trip to Sebastopol to tour the Redwood Hill creamery and dairy (and meet the goats!!!).  It was so fun I’ll tell you all about it later.

Afterwards, we picnicked in the orchard with the eats I packed.  I wish I’d brought more food for me, I’m not sure what I was thinking with just a sando and grapes. 

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Snack: lasagna (I dug in as soon as we got home…hangry status).

Miraculously I didn’t spoil my appetite for dinner (it was ~4 pm when I ate it).

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Dinner: Viccolo roasted tomato goat cheese & basil pizza (I had seconds and thirds) + carrots

Italian cravings like whoa!  If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was preggo again (remember how I wanted to molest tomatoes for 9 months?).

We get this pizza every time we go to Costco and I love love love it.  Even though Kyle and I each end up eating a whole pizza each (they come in two packs), they’re too good to pass up.  PS One pizza is like 1500 calories.  Don’t quote me, but I’m pretty sure that’s more than “normal” people eat in one meal.  Breast feeding FTW!!

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Breakfast: GF pancakes + peanut butter sauce (PB + almond milk + cinnamon + stevia)

I went back for two more pancakes.

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Lunch: Suzie’s corn thin cakes + avocado/egg salad + carrots + grapes

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These corn cakes are a first time buy and I kinda like them more than rice cakes.  They’re thinner (obvs) and therefore easier to pile high with stuff.  Plus they’re cheaper than other GF carb options (like bread) with fewer ingreds.  Win.

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Snack: Mary’s Gone crackers + Redwood Hill Farm’s goat cheese camellia (tastes super similar to brie but doesn’t harm my GI tract at all!)

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Dinner: baked sweet potato + falafel patty + carrots + celery + Fresh ‘n Nova hummus (original and roasted red pepper)

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Fresh ‘n Nova provided me with a lot of samples (even more than shown) and I am SOOOO obsessed. 

They knew I was already a fan because of several posts I wrote way back when,  So when they reached out to me to tell me about their expanded product line…ummm…yeah…I think I’ll give them a shot.  ;) 

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I cannot WAIT to share them all with you.  Someone may get a shot at winning some too…[hint hint]

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Dessert: frozen grapes (probably 3 times the amount shown)

Moving on…

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Breakfast: GF pancakes + fried egg + pumpkin almond milk coffee

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Lunch: GF toast with peppercorn chevre + fried eggs (and more peppercorn goat cheese) + carrots + figs

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Hellooooo favorite goat cheese!  I love how it can go either way – sweet or savory – and this has just enough kick to take an average egg and cheese combo to the next level.  Mmmm.

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Lunch (cont): banana chips

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Lunch dessert: chocolate chip banana cookies (all gone!)

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Dinner: pizza leftovers

Night shift eats: coconut, banana, banana chips, roasted nuts, Nature Valley bar (what. a. shift.)

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Breakfast: chocolate cherry bread + fried egg

After this I took a nap from 8:30 til 10.  Good but not great. 

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For lunch we were at the Farmer’s Market with Kyle’s brother’s family.  Kyle got a vegetarian corn dog from the Hotdogger + vegetable samosos from Kathmandu Kitchen.  I got the goat classic from Fat Face.

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Lots of sriracha, please.

Snack: melon from the market

Dinner: Mermaid sushi

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All that for the two of us, but mostly me.  🙂

Dessert: frozen grapes (no pic)

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Breakfast: smorgasbord (GF pancake + chocolate cherry bread + leftover waffles from a brunch we hosted a few weeks back) + fried egg

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Lunch: Suzie’s corn thin cakes + Mary’s Gone crackers + carrots + strawberries + avocado/goat cheese/egg mash

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Dinner: spinach and veggies topped with salmon pasta salad

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Dessert: strawberries + melon

Not too bad eh?

San Fran-iversary weekend

I realize this post is hardly timely.  We didn’t get back from the city until Monday evening and then I worked two nights in a row though…sooo…what can you do?  Truthfully, my weekend recaps are my own selfish way of documenting our memories forever and ever.  If others enjoy them, great! 

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So let’s back track to Saturday.  I was recovering from a few night shifts so we kept the day mellow.  I ate at odd times and didn’t get close to capturing everything I ate on film.  Did you know sleep deprivation can make you eat up to 20% more than your normal caloric intake?  It doesn’t surprise me at all.  Thanks to the combo of being up all night and breast feeding I feel like I’m a bottomless pit. 

Anyway, I may as well skip ahead to Sunday because that’s when the fun started.  I went to bed super early to attempt to catch up on sleep (I’d been awake for over 36 hours at that point) but still woke up at 7 am on Sunday.  Time to get the party started! 

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After a cup of coffee and finalized packing, we all loaded into the car to drive to San Francisco for the day/night.

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Why?  To celebrate 3 years of marriage!  [Also, why not?] 

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We started with brunch at Brasserie S&P, located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in downtown SF.  I got the crab benedict, Kyle got the fried egg sandwich (with the bacon on the side). 

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Pretty sure I won this round.  That hash in between the two open faced pieces of toast was like a sheet of tater tots.  Who doesn’t like tater tots?  College dorm cafeteria flash back! 

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We also shared fresh bread dipped in olive oil and a pot of decaf (Kyle’s going caffeine free and his detox is brutal right now – headaches aplenty).  FYI, Brasserie S&P has both soy and almond milk available, which is awesome, but the waitress brought me soy when I requested almond.  Oh well. 

After brunch we made our way down to the Exploratorium at Pier 15.  They just recently moved into their new location (with much more space) and I’ve been looking forward to geeking out ever since.

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Science is cool!

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Obviously P is on the young end of the spectrum, but it was still fun seeing him take everything in.  He’s probably gonna be a huge nerd just like his parents.

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PACMAN!  Kyle was one day behind in wearing his matching shirt… [wait for pics from Monday]

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An hour or two into our fun we stepped out so I could nurse P (they had rocking chairs looking out onto the water…so nice) but got our hands stamped so we could come back…because I was also feeling thirsty/snacky.  Rather than get something at the Exploratorium cafe (which I later found to be really impressive) we walked down to Pier 3 to Plant Cafe Organic.  I got a trilogy Kombucha (they were out of their tap Kombucha) and Kyle got a strawberry almond milk date smoothie.  I had a sip and it was fantastic.

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Afterwards we went back to the Exploratorium.  Once we saw as much as we could, we decided to head to the hotel to check in.

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But not before a stroll through the Ferry Building…

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My sneaky sneaky husband had a vegan and gluten free cake to pick up as a surprise for me! 

I had no idea he was paying attention when I mentioned Mariposa as our brunch spot for the next morning, but apparently he was more than aware of their awesome (allergen free) creations. 

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We were on the 25th floor of the Westin, but who cares about the view when there’s football on tv!!

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More anniversary surprises from Kyle’s parents 🙂

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We dug into the chocolate covered strawberries immediately, but saved the champs for after dinner. 

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We played around in the room for a while and then got changed for dinner.

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Gotta take advantage of the non-90 degree weather to put him in his adorable little hoodies. 

Dinner was at Triptych, a short walk from the hotel.  They have numerous vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options (all noted on the menu). 

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Kyle started with the wedge salad, I got the crab cakes. 

Even though I wasn’t super excited when they arrived (fried food, meh) they were deeeelicious and didn’t feel heavy and gross like fried food normally does. 

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Kyle got the butternut squash ravioli, I got the special of the day (salmon wrapped in a corn husk with fresh organic summer vegetables).

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Holy moly.

I was on the fence because their vegan options all sounded so good, but this was amazing.  The fish was cooked perfectly, and the vegetables were bursting with fresh flavor.  It was exceptional. 

We both left completely satisfied.  Fortunately, the walk home helped our stomachs out because we needed to make room for cake! 

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But before we got to that, we had to do P’s bedtime routine.

We didn’t get a separate room or suite or anything, so we were really just hoping for the best in terms of him sleeping while we stayed up.

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The room ended up having a closet door that could be left open partially blocking off the front entry way, so we put his pack n play there.  As per usual, he got a bath, a bedtime story, and then I nursed him until he dozed off.  I put him in the pack n play and he went right to sleep. 

We waited a few minutes for him to be really asleep before we turned on the tv.  Movies cost $16 though!?!!?  WTF!  That’s kinda insane. 

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We thought we were so crafty remembering to pop the champagne befpre putting P down, but then we realized we didn’t have any silverware or way to cut the cake.  Womp womp.

Kyle managed to creep past the pack n play and slide out the front door to go get stuff in the lobby.  Meanwhile I snuck into the bathroom (also located an inch from P’s crib) to shower.  The kid was sure tuckered out from our adventures because he didn’t even budge an inch with all our comings and goings.

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Cake!!!  OMG.  This cake.

I can’t believe how good it was.  Yum yum yum.  Kyle’s mind was also blown and he straight up admitted he wasn’t sure how good it would be.  Even if it weren’t free of wheat/gluten, dairy and/or eggs I’d say it was great…no qualifiers necessary.  This cake was the real deal.  And I’m not usually a frosting girl!  We both licked our plates and went back for seconds.

And afterwards I still felt light as a feather!  No GI issues whatsoever! 

After a glass or two of bubbly it was time for bed.  Long day…zzz…

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Monday morning we walked back to the Ferry Building – this time for the oh so essential Blue Bottle coffee.  Every time I wait in that line I think it’s ridiculous and every time I taste my first sip I remember it’s not ridiculous at all.  Their java is the. dang. best.  Kyle and I each exclaimed such at least 10 times while drinking it. 

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For food we went back to Mariposa.  They have a lot more than cake to offer.  Not that eating cake for breakfast would be a crime.

I couldn’t decide between sweet or savory (actually I really wanted to try everything in front of me – gluten free focaccia, rolls, bagels, pretzels, etc!!) so I got a couple of things.  ADD ordering at it’s finest.

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A toasted bagel for now.

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And a cinnamon roll for later.

Kyle got the breakfast sandwich on a (gluten free) roll with smoked salmon, cream cheese, arugula, and onions [hold the cucumber, obvi]. 

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It’s the order I would have gotten myself had the cream cheese been dairy free.  Looks pretty phenom.  He said he wished it had an egg on it, but they don’t have a kitchen.  Aside from that he said it was awesome. 

I have to agree.  Mariposa makes the most unbelievable GF breads!  Nobody would ever guess they didn’t have wheat.  I wish I lived near them to try all their products, but I think it’s probably better for my wallet that I don’t.  It’s already a challenge when I go to the Co-op because they carry a few of their treats…just not the bread items.  Hooray for local places doing yummy things.

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In the end, my simple cinnamon raisin bagel was actually the perfect order.  Warm and crispy and doughy with melty sunbutter.  Mmmm…

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Look at all the stripes.  🙂

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After breakfast we walked along the Piers heading up toward Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39…

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We stopped along the way so I could nurse P.  Just found a random bench – not a bad view huh?

The weather could not have been more gorgeous, too.  SF is rarely so warm and sunny and perfect, but on this particular weekend the sky was clear (fog free!) and there wasn’t even much of a breeze.  Warm and lovely with scenic beauty as far as the eye could see.

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We made it to Ghirardelli square where I changed P’s diaper and we took some family photos.  Can you believe it, I actually managed to NOT buy chocolate!?!  It’s only because I already had a big stash back home (and a cinnamon roll tucked away for later).

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Gah!  The cuteness!  My loves. 

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We met up with a friend for a little bit (random timing that worked in our favor), but eventually headed back so that we’d be able to watch the America’s Cup races.

The time trials have been going on for the past month and it’s really getting down to the wire now.  The winner of these last two teams (New Zealand vs. Italy) races against the US in the finals.  We soaked up the fancy country club ambiance (holy rich people and their yachts!) and then saw the kiwis race across the finish line.  They go fast!!

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Then we decided it was time for lunch.  :) 

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Where else would we go for our last meal in the city? 

Plant Cafe, duh. Kyle got the plant burger with cheese and avocado and I got the kale salad with tempeh.

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Neither of these orders were first timers for us, but you don’t mess with perfection, right? 

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We also split a kale, almond butter, and banana smoothie (“split” in quotations since Kyle hogged 80% of it). 

After lunch we went back to the hotel, packed up, and headed home.  I had a chocolate chip cookie from Mariposa while Kyle drove. 

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Fortunately I had a veggie casserole in the fridge so I didn’t have to do any cooking for dinner.  Aside from frying an egg to pair with it and adding avo (always).

P was seconds shy of a meltdown from all the activity and lack of napping, but we got him down just in time to enjoy a few moments to ourselves. 

I had two huge slices of leftover cake for dessert.  To 3 happy years!!

Ten Reviews

Here are some products I’ve tried lately. Some were bad, some were okay, some were good, and some were awesome. So I figured I’d share. I have no affiliation with any of these companies. These are simply my honest opinions.

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1. Boulder Canyon Natural Foods olive oil kettle cooked potato chips

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I’m not sure what makes these “kettle” exactly, but as far as ingredients go they are clean and pure.  Vegan and gluten free.  And FODMAPs friendly.  Purely potatoes, olive oil and salt.

I thought they were too greasy, but I’m not a potato chip person.  Kyle loved them. 

Would I buy again?  If Kyle wants potato chips, sure.  Otherwise no.  There are other flavors aside from olive oil that I kinda want to try out, though, like malt vinegar & sea salt.  Or sea salt & cracked pepper. 

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2. The Cookie Department fully functional cookies

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I got a sampler from the company with a few of their products.

They only have one vegan cookie (the Great Full cookie above), so the rest were Kyle’s to review. 

The Great Full cookie was okay.  I didn’t think it really met the dessert qualification in that it was too healthy tasting.  Not enough fat to be called a cookie.  It was more like a breakfast treat to me because it was kinda bready.  It’s cool that it has sweet potato in it, but they should probably just call it an cranberry oatmeal breakfast bake.

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In order of flavor preference from best to worst not best, Kyle liked: awaken baked, chocolate chip nookie, tough cookie.  The flavors were good, but the texture wasn’t his fave.  [And I agree]

These aren’t soft chewy cookies.  Both of us are into softer cookies with some give, as opposed to cookies that have a crispy crumbly texture.  So that is probably a big factor in our less than enthusiastic reviews. 

I will say, however, that they weren’t overly sweet, which was nice.  Sometimes eating desserts at night can give Kyle a stomach ache or headache (he’s surprisingly sensitive to sweets) and he said these didn’t do that at all.  The chocolate chip nookie wasn’t even the sweetest one.  The awaken baked took that honor, but it’s dominant flavor was still coffee.  That’s probably why it was his number one.  I had a bite of the peanut butter flavor (tough cookie) and it didn’t have nearly enough peanut flavor for my liking.  Plus it had nut chunks, which I’m not a fan of. 

Would I buy them again?  Not likely.  I like chewy cookies, plus it’s pretty rare for me to buy desserts instead of bake them myself. 

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3.  Sun Chlorella Well Well Wow

I got a sample of this and thought it was an interesting product (aside from the ridiculous name).  It’s caffeine free, but meant to give you some extra pep in your step.  Like a 5 hour energy drink with natural goodness and no nasty crap.

I didn’t end up drinking it though, since the warnings for breast feeding moms made me nervous.  Kyle took it with him on his business trip and said it tasted gross.  He could only tolerate a few sips.  For anyone who’s ever tried Echinacea drops, it’s flavor is like that stuff.

Would I buy again?  Negative.  While it’s probably good for you, if the flavor isn’t there, I’m not going to spend money on it.  Unless I’m sick.

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4. Larabar ALT bars

I’ve been looking forward to these for a while, so my opinion may be biased.  Kyle, on the other hand, doesn’t particularly like the OG Larabars, so his opinion is untainted. 

We both loved them. 

Flavor wise, the peanut butter cookie was amazing, but all the rest were just as yummy.  And the fact that they have pea protein only makes them better (they don’t taste chalky like other protein bars though, which is a plus in my book).  I’m not the kind of person who tracks my macronutrients, but I do make a conscious effort to get extra protein into our diets since I’m on a low FODMAPs plant based diet and he’s an active dude.  And for the low FODMAPs people, they are sweetened with brown rice syrup and dates (not honey or agave).  Yay! 

Would I buy again?  Yes!  Pumpkin pie and lemon pound cake are actually the ones I crave the most.  Daily. 

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5. Silk vanilla unsweetened almond milk

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I am usually an Almond Breeze girl, through and through, but Silk was on sale for significantly less so I took the plunge.  I also found it interesting that it doesn’t have carageenan.  It does, however, have a few other ingredients acting as thickeners, like locust bean gum and gellan.  Hmmm.

The Silk almond milk has a stronger vanilla flavor than Almond Breeze’s version, which I didn’t really like.  I like vanilla, but there was something overpowering about it.  In coffee it’s fine, but I don’t always want vanilla flavor.  For the record, I have tried the plain Silk before which I do like.  I also like that Silk’s products are non GMO. 

Would I buy again?  Nah.  Even if it’s on sale I’m just going to pay for the more expensive Almond Breeze.

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6. Flamous sprouted multigrain Za’atar chips

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As far as gluten free, vegan, healthy chips go, these were great!  They have a hearty grainy texture and taste that is a cross between a tortilla chip and a whole grain cracker. 

Hooray for wheat-less snack chips that don’t have a million starches instead of non-glutinous grains.  They’re a bit thicker than your average chip, but not in a stale way, just in a sturdy (pile lots of stuff on top) way. 

I could have used a bit more salt though.  [Says the salt fiend]

Would I buy again?  Yeah, if I can find them!  Now that we’ve moved I’ll probably never see them again.  Their website has a store locator/request form since they’re pretty poorly distributed. 

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7. Earth Mama Angel Baby organic comfort tea

Intended for post-partum mamas with recovery needs and raging hormones, this sounded like something I should invest in.  While it’s hard to say if it helped, it tasted good (like cinnamon).  Way better than raspberry leaf tea (which is not tasty at all).

Would I buy again?  I’m not sure.  I’m pretty neutral on it and since I am pretty picky about repeat tea purchases, I’ll probably pass.  But I did get a coupon inside the box so at least my next purchase will be discounted. 

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8. Clearly Kombucha ginger berry

A new Kombucha brand!  And they have a ginger berry flavor!

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And caps with fun messages!

Like most new products I try, I bought this because it was on sale (at Nugget market).  And I loved it!  I haven’t tried any other flavors because how can you pass up on ginger? 

Would I buy again?  Yes yes yes.  I have already…a few times.  Fortunately they’re still on sale so I’m taking advantage.

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9. Cybele’s free to eat chocolate chunk brownie cookies

I suppose I’m kinda a hypocrite after the previous review saying I prefer to make my own baked desserts, but these are most definitely better than anything I could bake.

They are SO chocolate-y and SO good.  And free of the top 8 allergens (dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish).  So yeah, vegan and gluten free.  Win!

They are soft and melt in your mouth.  They are exactly as the name describes – loaded with chocolate (and chunks) and gooey like a brownie.  Can you tell I liked these?  There are 10 in a box and I ate 6 in one session and barely pulled myself away from them.  Unfortunately the remaining 4 didn’t stay as fresh so they weren’t as good texture-wise.  They were more like normal (firm) cookies without the give of a fresh cookie. 

Would I buy again?  Heck yeah!  They are brand new to the market and I’m so excited that there are two other flavors to try.  Cybele Pascal is a genius for creating allergen friendly treats. 

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10. The Republic of Tea twenty herbs tea

I didn’t expect to like this because I rarely like herbal tea.  But I was desperate for a decaf variety and this was the only one left in the Republic of Tea sampler that I got.  I reviewed the other ones I’d tried previously (some were hits, some were misses). 

This was actually really good!  I didn’t add milk or sugar, just drank it plain.  None of the flavors I dislike were dominant (mint, licorice, chamomile, etc.).

Would I buy again?  I believe I will.