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One zucchini recipe

And just like that, zucchini game is ON.

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My mini man likes zucchini just like his mama, so I thought it would be awesome to grow some in the garden…but for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW my plant has produced nothing but males.  What. The. Heck.  !?!?

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So I bought some at farmer’s market.

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And made muffins.  Mini ones to be exact.  And they don’t call for any sweetener at all so they are perfect for little ones with un-warped palates.  Or adults who want to give their sweet tooth a break.  They are still divine and perfect little snack bites thanks to the natural sugar from the ripe banana, so don’t go dismissing these before you’ve even tried them.  Plus, they whip up in one bowl in seconds.

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Mini zucchini muffins [gluten free, dairy free, oil free, sugar free, nut free, soy free, seed free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini, shredded (don’t press out liquid)
  • 1 (super ripe) banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup all purpose GF flour
  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F.

Mash banana in a large mixing bowl, then add shredded zucchini and egg.  Stir to combine.  Then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.

Pour into greased muffin sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes or when a toothpick comes out of the center clean (alter time as needed for larger muffin/loaf pan).

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Fourth Festivities Weekend

I’m just going to say from the get go, summer is awesome.  And even though it’s taken me a while to recap our 4th of July, I figured better late than never because these memories are so worth capturing in print.

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Kyle had Friday off so we invited friends over for breakfast.  I made a plum clafoutis based on this recipe, but I accidentally changed it rather significantly when I dumped an entire can of coconut milk (as opposed to the 1 cup of dairy liquid called for) in the batter.  I tried to compensate by adding coconut flour (it’s spongelike right?) and it actually worked out in the end with a longer baking time.  No biggie.

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I think clafoutis are the perfect brunch option for groups although I would say I could have taken this whole thing down by myself.

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Luckily there were treats too.  Kyle and I have been discussing this local Austrian bakery for a few months now – he saw it on his half marathon run and thought we should try it and then it kept coming up in random conversations over the next few weeks.  You know how that goes right?  It’s called Konditorei but if you just google “Austrian bakery in Davis” it’s the first thing that comes up.  Followed by a million glowing reviews from various sites.

Happy to say it did not disappoint, although I’m far from an expert on Austrian baked goods.  I’m actually not a big pastry person…I don’t know why but they aren’t something I drool over in bakery cases the way others do.  Kyle’s a big (chocolate filled) croissant person.  I guess I’d rather have something more doughy.  Croissants seem like a bunch of fluff without substance…Kyle and I have actually talked about it before.  He thinks it’s weird that I would choose an old fashioned donut over a regular (yeasty?) donut, but again, those fall into the fluff without substance category for me.  Also, I can’t think of the last time I ate a donut, so yeah.  Not my thing. [Update: I think the last time I had a donut was when we went apple picking last Fall]

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So about this clafoutis.

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Everyone seems to have plums going bonkers on their trees, so we have been the recipients of several donations…which is why I decided to go with plums instead of the traditional cherry that this recipe calls for.  I sautéed them with sugar and then poured them into a greased dish, followed by the batter and then baked it.  This was all at 9 pm mind you (we were at a pool party that evening) so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out at all and had to wait until the next morning to find out.

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The next morning was an early one, per usual.  We read some books and snuggled before facing life.

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The clafoutis was a hit.

We played in the backyard while eating and letting the kiddos run around and chase bubbles until it randomly started raining (?!?).  What a weird start to the holiday weekend.  It was over 100 degrees for most of the time so the unexpected rainstorm was definitely bizarre.  Awesome for my plants though!  I feel guilty about my garden with the drought so a little help from mother nature is always nice.

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The rest of the day was basically planned down time.  Our weekends over the next few months are all packed which seems crazy because it’s summer and I associate the warm months with nothingness…and yet, we seem to have our calendars booked to the brim!  It’s all fun stuff but still.  Being home and doing nothing is nice too.

I made a big a$$ salad for lunch (kale, broccoli slaw, edamame, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, avocado, and this dressing) which I paired with home-made crackers.  I am on my fifth batch of these crackers and I have yet to post the actual recipe!  I will soon I promise – this latest batch was the best yet and is finally worthy of sharing. [Note: I had way way more crackers than shown in the pic but I will say, due to the thickness of this batch, the photo is deceiving.  And another thing that makes these crackers addictive (and super filling) is the amount of coconut oil I use.  I mean the recipe was based off a pie crust, so yeah, it’s kinda like eating half a pie (in shortening).]  Nutrient density, what whaaaaattttt?

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After P got up and ate we headed to a couple of stores to take advantage of sales.  Target had a sale on men’s swim suits and Nugget had two things I needed (wanted) on mega sale including Sir Kensington’s condiments (2 for $5) and fancy fresh mozzarella balls.  It was pretty hot out that afternoon so we drove to both places, which ended up being a blessing because things are NOT as in and out as they once were.  So many moving parts as a family of four!

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We ended up grilling for dinner.  I’d probably do it every day if it were possible.  I just love chilling in the yard, playing with P and eating as a family when things are hot off the grill.

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I pulled salmon out of the freezer (the last portion that I vacuum sealed from Costco a few weeks ago) and paired it with a simple tomato salad.

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I told Kyle this when we were eating it, but I’ll say it here too: this dinner was last meal worthy.  Honestly.

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All I did was season the salmon with salt and pepper and olive oil, that’s it.  And it was just so so so good.

That portion above on the right – Kyle and I split.  And that slab on the left?  ALL FOR MR. P!  He ate the entire freakin thing.  And I don’t know why I’m surprised.  This happens week in and week out and I still don’t learn.  I thought FOR SURE I’d get two meals out of that piece for him.  Nope!

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The tomato salad was actually our appetizer because all that shopping worked up our appetites, so I assembled it first so we’d be content until later to eat.  Kyle and I just stood there in the kitchen over the counter, stabbing bites from the shared plate with our forks.

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I’d been planning this salad ever since we got the tomatoes from the farm, so as soon as I saw the mozzarella was Nugget’s “secret special” of the week (I get their newsletters via email) I knew I’d get a couple to do the salad a few times.  We have tomatoes and basil for dayssssss.

The corn was local too, which offers a freshness I swear you can taste.  Summer corn.  I tell ya what.

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After everyone was in bed that night I put together a quinoa broccoli salad for the next day.  It was requested after I made it a few weeks back.

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Things worked out perfectly on the morning of the 4th – timing wise all the wake ups and meals and nursing and everything just fell into place and by 9:45 we were off to downtown for the kiddie parade as planned.

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So much cuteness with all the stars and stripes and kiddos.  Much to P’s delight there were fire trucks, police cars, a marching band, and so much more.  He was all excited about the marching band because he knows every instrument and practices marching with them around the house (literally every obscure instrument you may think of, he knows – hashtagbandgeek).

We were “in” the parade and marched all 3 blocks to central park where farmer’s market was already going strong.  At which point, we continued to enjoy the music scene.  Then it was off to watch the bike races.

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This is one of my favorite events in Davis and if it weren’t for nap schedules I could easily stay and watch all day.  Plus, I grabbed an iced decaf Starbucks, so I was really and truly in heaven.

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These two!  <3

We did have to break away though so that the little man could get some shuteye before the afternoon pool party.

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While P was sleeping I did some baking with zucchini I grabbed at farmer’s market.

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We also watched the women’s world cup consolation game.  And played with miss smiley pants.

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This girl is always so happy.  Hopefully that didn’t jinx my life.

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Party time!  Happy birthday America.

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Ribs times three.

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The spice blends were a mix of home-made and packaged.  Both the packaged blends were by my friend’s friend’s company (Greenpoint Trading Co in Brooklyn).

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And my friend’s mom makes that pea salad which is mayo packed and fantastic (I think I’ve raved about it on HHH already).  It has chopped smoked almonds in it which are just about the most addicting things on the planet.

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Bikini babe ready to hit the pool.  It was a really fun afternoon of swimming and snacking and grilling and then repeating.  No fireworks for our crew.  Maybe in a few years…but 9:30 is too late for these kiddos right now.  And me, if I’m being honest.  I would much prefer Orange Is The New Black and a plate of chocolate with a 9 pm curtain call.  I’m so lame.

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Smoothie for breakfast with my new Vega One chocolate.  Mmmmm…I missed you smoothies (although I definitely still have the itch for my greek yogurt/banola bowls).  As soon as everyone was fed and fit for public we set off for Costco.  We actually got there before it opened!  Whoops!  Never thought to look at the schedule because we are never out the door that early!  Ha.  Fortunately we only had a few minutes to kill in the parking lot before we got our bulk shopping on.

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This is the definition of bulk shopping!

Pork belly at $2.24 / lb is (apparently) too good to pass up.  Just wait til I do a post on this (“what to do with 10 pounds of pork belly”).  Oh man.

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Since we didn’t really have plans for dinner that night, I made up a rub for the meat and let it hang out for a few hours before it met it’s fate on the grill.

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With such a meaty menu, I figured lunch should be animal free – hence the Beyond Meat grilled “chickn” (above) which I added to a bunch of greens and veggies (below).

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Topped with pomegranate seeds and edamame.

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After that I took advantage of nap time and prepped a bunch of stuff in the kitchen (including the rest of that pork belly).

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Washed carrots from the farm like crazy and avoided another spider attack.

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Did some pickling without a recipe (we will see how it turns out – still haven’t tried them yet).

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Picked some stuff from the garden for dinner.

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IMG_7505Brainstormed what to do with it….and went with a super simple salad from Terry Walters’ Clean Food…which led me back to the garden to pick some tomatoes.

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Beauties.

I also made another batch of banola.

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This stuff is legit.

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Ready for a week (ahem, few days) of breakfasts!

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Once P woke up it was time for Kyle to get grilling. We had no clue how long the pork belly would take on the grill and everything on the internet was super contradictory.  There were quick high heat recipes and low and slow recipes and we figured it was better to just start early in the afternoon and go by what the meat thermometer said.

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Success!

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I’ll share all the pork deets later.

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We watched the world cup finals while the meat did it’s thing.

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Also P helped me make this salad.  Per usual he was very hands on (meaning much of it went straight into his mouth).  Not tomatoes though.  He doesn’t like tomatoes.

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Boom.

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Such a rich dish that I’m glad it was paired with something lighter because whoa.  Pork belly is some fatty stuff.

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Not bad for the first try!

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And now we have a million pounds leftover.  Good thing I have lots of ideas on what to do with it!

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Dessert (part I) was enjoyed on the couch while kicking our feet up and wondering how the three day weekend left us more exhausted than we felt going into it.  I guess that’s how it goes with small children running the show.

The weekly menu

It’s kinda silly categorizing this post “the weekly menu” considering the week was only, like, a second long and I already blogged about the first half of it, but it is what it is.

To recap, Monday we did melon, avo, and butter lettuce salad with poppyseed dressing.  Legit.

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Tuesday we had crock pot stuffed bell peppers.

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They were based off this recipe but then I made them completely different to meet all of our families allergy requirements and preferences.

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Wednesday we skipped market (again) and cooked in.  The weather was forecasting 108 again but it was only mid 90s in the end.  “Only” – ha!  Still too hot for a picnic.

Enter this shrimp and avo pasta salad.  By another Elise blogger.  :)

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SO GOOD.  I used GF noodles and green bell peppers (from the farm).

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Kyle was going ga ga over this and demanded it’s addition to the rotation.  So if you want a delicious summer salad, this is it.

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Lime and cilantro are basically all I want in the summer anyway.  I added some red onions to his portion only.  My gut has been doing really well lately and I’m kinda excited about it.  I think it has to do with all the coconut oil I’ve been eating lately.  Between my home-made crackers and home-made bark I get a significant portion every day.  I’ve also upped the amount of carbs I’m eating during the day and committed to really planning out my lunches and making sure they are vegetable and grain packed (and meatless).  Pretty excited about it.

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I made tomato rice seasoned with green onions, cumin, paprika, garlic and salt for our weekly pool party/get together on Thursday.

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It was Mexican food themed (potluck), which is awesome because it’s a very allergy friendly cuisine.  My girlfriend texted me the label of the seasoning before adding it the ground beef and I gave her the go ahead.  Little dude loves him some beef.

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These tomatoes!  Gah!!  The photo doesn’t even do the color justice.  Needless to say, the rice was good.

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I’ll stop here because I’m probably going to do a separate post of the whole 4th weekend.

Slow cooker stuffed bell peppers

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Whatcha gonna do with a bunch of bell peppers and tomatoes?

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Stuff em.  With each other.

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Set and forget is all you want on a 108 degree day anyway.  I prepped this while feeding little man breakfast.  He ate the tops of the bell peppers (diced) and then tried to swoop on a tomato in the process.

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Slow cooker beef and tomato stuffed bell peppers [gluten free, soy free, peanut/tree nut free, dairy free, sesame free]

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 bell peppers
  • 1 lb ground meat (I used beef)
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • handful chopped basil (to garnish)

Directions:

Grease crock pot with cooking spray.

Slice tops off of bell peppers and remove inner ribs and seeds.  Place in slow cooker (if they don’t all fit just wait and put the others in after you have stuffed the first layer).

Mix together the rest of the ingredients (ground meat through pepper) and scoop into bell peppers.  Pack it down so you can get as much in as possible (because the recipe yields a little bit extra).

If your crock pot doesn’t have room for all 6, just layer them after you’ve stuffed the bottom layer.

Cook on low for 6 hours.

Garnish with chopped basil before serving.

Notes:

You could place a slice of cheese on top of each pepper for the last 30 minutes, if you tolerate dairy.

Feel free to sub lentils for ground meat to make it vegetarian/vegan.

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This amount feeds two adults and one toddler.  Enjoy!

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Monkey bowl for my monkey.

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Fake three day weekend

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Sweet baby child this Saturday’s breakfast was nooooo joke.

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How much did I spill on her head?

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Only one bite actually but it happened to be the very center piece with the most ooey gooey sticky sugar section.  I still ate it of course.  And then cleaned her head with a wipe (not my tongue).

Since Pattycakes now has gymnastics classes on Saturday mornings it’s easy to just walk across the street after and hit up market for breakfast.  And entertainment in the form of music and parks…while Kyle and I treat ourselves to yummy pastries.

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After we’d gotten enough sun, we retreated to the air conditioning where naps went down not as easily as you’d think (how do all the morning activities not tire him out more?).  Still he slept for a long time once he finally did fall asleep and I enjoyed a relaxing kale salad lunch with the last of my home-made crackers (crumbs) on top.  Time to make a new batch!

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These days, if my lunch doesn’t include kale, it better have broccoli.  I’m so head over heels for those brassica foods at the moment.  This one had kale AND broccoli slaw.  Even better!

I prepped dinner during nap time and since I already shared that meal in the weekly menu post, here are other food photo highlights of the rest of Saturday…

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Prepping carrots from the farm (which is just the garden at Kyle’s work, but we call it “the farm”).  It’s where we the fresh produce that I frequently show off here on the blog.

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The most recent haul nearly killed me (dramatic much?) because as I was cleaning it all, a spider the size of my face appeared and we had a mega showdown.  He almost won too!  But shoes aren’t just made for walking.

Now that I have my own garden, and we get extra crops from the farm, I have a(n even more) massive appreciation for the time and energy that goes into gardening – especially organic gardening.  I see and experience the labor involved first hand – even on this small and local scale – and it is truly something else.  No wonder quality food costs $$$$$.  It’s hard work!

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Once I trimmed and organized them, I set out to meal plan for the coming week so I could use them.

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WF had a weekend sale (25% off all protein powders) that I had set in my calendar long ago.  So I finally re-stocked my protein powder supply.  And for such a good deal, I splurged and bought both vanilla and chocolate flavors.

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I tried the WF brand (just bought one sample packet) to see if it would be similar enough (they basically copycat-ed Vega in the recipe), but it didn’t hold up in my opinion.  Too bad because it’s significantly cheaper.  It’s still good but Vega One is the best.

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And about that Prop 65 warning?  I emailed the company last week and haven’t heard back yet, but the employee who works in the supplements aisle at the Davis WF (who I think is super awesome and knowledgeable) told me she guessed it was due to the brown rice protein (and that whole arsenic mumbo jumbo).  Meh.  I just went with what I know and love, even though it’s a little more expensive.  Vega for the win.

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Look!!  Our purple bell peppers are almost ready!  We also have red ones and lots of tomatoes.  And then there’s the tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans in the raised beds.  I also planted a second round of green beans because both Kyle and P love them and they were all being eaten straight from the garden!

After P went to bed I baked another batch of crackers.  I’m still not ready to share a recipe because it’s not quite right yet.  I keep tweaking this (really yummy) BA recipe to include seeds and quinoa and while it tastes super good, it crumbles and falls apart more than a real cracker.  I don’t mind, but it’s not exactly blogworthy.

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Here’s the final product in the light of day.

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Sunday morning was luxurious because we had nothing to do.  Nothing!  So nice.  All four of us played outside together before the yard was flooded with sun.  My breakfast was shockingly NOT a smoothie, despite having all that recently purchased protein powder burning a hole in my pantry.

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You see, I just discovered a new love.  It’s called “banola”.  The recipe is from The 21 Day Sugar Detox cookbook, which I let my friend borrow a while ago and just recently got back.  I’m not doing the program (I can’t cut carbs from my diet and the idea of a night without chocolate is not remotely tolerable), but I still like the recipes in it.

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I baked this one a few nights ago and it’s been in the breakfast rotation since smoothies were on hold without my protein powder.  It’s basically a nut based granola, without grains, and using bananas as the sweetener.  I used super ripe bananas, even though the recipe calls for green tipped ones because (again) I’m not doing the actual detox thing.

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I’ve been pairing it with different greek yogurts – usually mixing a noosa flavored one with plain 2% fage.  I am in a real plain yogurt phase right now, so sometimes I skip the sweetened flavored ones and just do plain.  Fage makes the best one although I haven’t tried too many.  We shop primarily at TJs for the staples, so my options for comparison aren’t plentiful.  I’ve tried the TJs 2% but it’s not as good.  And I don’t want nonfat yogurts because, uh, I want the fat (weird to say it that way, but I don’t know how else to put it).

My lunch was leftover cauli salad from the night before, which I bulked up with avocado and spinach.

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Salads for lunch, all day every day.  Loving the combo of sweet and crunchy with apples, sunflower seeds, and veggies.

Kyle’s parents arrived in the afternoon and from there we basically hung out for the rest of the day.

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I made this salad (using quinoa instead of brown rice) and marinated a TON of chicken with this rub and then my role in dinner was done.

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Appetizers and wine while the man of the house did his thing on the grill.

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Valley girl smiles all day long.

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Dinner is served!  I cut into mine before realizing I never took a photo. Oops.

After both of the littles were down we enjoyed some of TJs finest in the backyard while the sun set.  There was finally a decent breeze and it wasn’t 100 degrees, so that was reason enough to soak up the time outdoors.

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Once we came in, I set to work on a strata for the next day’s breakfast.

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Tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions and basil from our garden and the farm.

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I also used TJs new gluten free bread for the first time.  They stopped carrying Udi’s and I’m guessing this is basically their copycat version of the item.  Like Udi’s the slices are so small, but it seems a little softer and less crumbly.  It’s not very thick though, so as far as strata recipes go, it’s not like the adsorbent sourdough that I’d typically use.

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But this one is allergy friendly, and so Pacman was able to have some for breakfast the next day too.

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He didn’t really like it, but took down a few bites to appease me.  He doesn’t like tomatoes, so it’s not surprising that he wasn’t into this.  The tomatoes are absolutely outstanding and their flavor cannot be masked.  I hardly added anything besides fresh herbs to the strata because the veggies sing on their own.

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Kyle’s mom wanted some produce to take home with her so we stopped by the farm after everyone had finished breakfast to do some picking.

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Gorgeous colors.

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P loved it so much and ate a carrot right there on the spot (dirt covered and all).

IMG_8341I’m looking forward to the melons…

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Kyle’s mom can have all the cayenne and tabasco peppers to herself.  :)

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After we had more food than we could carry, we drove down the street to a park to play until nap time.

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Swinging with my dude.

We hit up Nugget market for lunch, where I got smoked salmon and two tubs of broccoli slaw salad.  I guess I forgot to take a photo, but it was all super delicious.  Broccoli man.  I’m telling you…

Kyle’s parents left after lunch and I went to the grocery store while Kyle stayed home with the napping babes.  He took the day off work since his parents were in town so the weekend really felt like it was still going!  And lemme tell you – shopping without kids?!?!?  OMG.  SO.  AMAZING.

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Dinner was my favorite melon and poppyseed salad with the leftover chicken from the night before.

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P had everything but the dressing (haven’t tested poppy seeds on him yet).

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I just love this salad so so much.

I polished off the TJs chocolate later that night as well as some more home-made bark.

And just like that it was already Tuesday!  So now with Friday off as a holiday it’s basically a 3 day work week!  Holler!