Hungry Hungry Hippie

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The weekly menu

Sunday night I made this pork soup which has graced our menu (and the blog) a few times already.  I made a few swaps based on the ingredients we had on hand and what was available in the store (WF was out of ground pork!) but it’s a forgiving recipe in that way.  As long as you stick to the basic flavors with seasonings and whatnot, it is super delicious however you make it!

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I used ground beef and kale instead of pork and mustard greens and then used vermicelli brown rice noodles instead of wide ones.

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P was in heaven.  Actually all of us were.

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He calls these noodles “squiggly noodles”.

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Meatless Monday went down with the second Naturally Ella recipe in two weeks.  Here’s the link for the turmeric rice with coconut kale recipe.

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This was another big time winner for the whole fam.  P’s dish was obviously minus the cashews, but he devoured seconds of both the rice and kale just like Kyle and I did.  So there were zero leftovers.

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I made salmon with stir fry veggies on Tuesday which I served over both quinoa and white rice because there were leftovers of those already made.

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Wednesday I made “that chicken” with the suggested pairing in the recipe linked – kale, brussels, and bacon hash.

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I made the marinade early in the day (I think while feeding the littles breakfast) and let it hang out all day in the fridge, which is basically the essence of the yumminess.

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For the side dish I cheated a bit and used this bagged blend form TJs.

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Sadly not organic.  :(

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I used some of the sautéed onions for the chicken dish and some for the sautéed greens, but I nixed the bacon altogether and just used it’s fat (which I have jars and jars of thanks to the boys’ bacon consumption).

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I am SO glad Costco started carrying organic chicken that isn’t Foster Farms again.  We stopped buying it altogether from there in protest and while I’m not sure if others did as well, I’m happy that a change was made and I didn’t have to compromise my ethics.  This chicken is from Fulton Valley Farms, which is local to us.  They focus on sustainability as well as quality (free roaming, no antibiotics, hormones, organic feed, etc.) and clearly have major pride in their practices.

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Thursday we had leftovers.  The last of the pork (but with beef) soup.

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Next up.  TGIF with some bangin’ quinoa bowls.

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I made this recipe up but didn’t write it down.

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Basically I made a lime and tamari based sauce for the quinoa, then tossed it with slaw veggies (red and green cabbage, carrots, and edamame) and olive oil.  Kyle’s got green onions, too.  Then to serve I added avocado and an Asian sun butter sauce (with more tamari, agave, fish sauce, and rice vinegar).

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SO GOOD.  At first I held off on giving P the sun butter sauce, but once he saw ours and asked for it, I gave him a bit and then a bit more and pretty soon he was basically eating “saucy sauce” as the main meal.  Ha.  Luckily I made a lot so there was a bit leftover (which came in handy over the weekend).

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Saturday night I made this Kale and Asian Pear salad from A House in the Hills (new to me blog), which was perfect for our kale loving household.

The lemon dressing was divine and I highly recommend making it for all your future salad creations like I plan to.  Especially since we have lots of lemons right now!

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I made a few minor tweaks here and there (subbing a bit of shallot infused oil for shallots, walnuts for pecans, and massaging the greens in advance to break them down instead of sautéing them – I’m lazy and dirtying an extra pan is sometimes too much effort).

P was all up in it, and despite thinking I made WAY too much it was completely gone after we all had seconds.  Our appetites will never cease to amaze me.  Don’t I say that every week?  Learn, Elise.

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I topped ours with a little hemp/pepita/nooch “parmesan” (Gena’s recipe) because why not?

Sunday was a loooong day – we went to Chico and back to hang with friends and watch football – and by the time we got home it was dark and we needed to get dinner happening immediately, so I just pulled all the leftovers out and we divided and conquered.  Kyle had the leftover Thai quinoa, bulked up with some shrimp and I had kale salad (because I always have kale salad on hand).

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DIVINE is right.  Oh man, I wish this seasonal bar were available year round.  I got it from Thrive and it is no longer on the site because it’s a holiday exclusive.  Womp womp.

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I am on my 20th or something order from Thrive Market and the company just keeps blowing me away.  I love them.  You all should join if you haven’t already.  They are doing good things for reals.  This link gets you a discount on your first order btw.

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Another seasonal favorite are these orange chocolates.  LOVE.  I should have gotten a million.  They are currently my favorite treat.  I managed to make one orange last three nights – paired with other chocolate of course – but I wanted to eat the whole thing at once.

That’s all for now.  I’ll continue with the MLK holiday and the rest of this week soon.  Gotta go hit up Netflix for Making A Murderer – no spoilers please!

Hummus sauce chilaquiles

You could certainly go a bunch of directions with this recipe, but I kept it vegan because…LOOK!!!

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Chilaquiles are obviously a traditional Mexican dish, so this is not in the realm of authentic.  However, I wanted to tweak the idea of a dish with fried tortilla strip topped with a spicy tomato sauce and cheese (which is what chilaquiles are) using a hummus sauce as the base.

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Also, it’s super bowl season and Sabra is the “official dip sponsor” so obviously I had to get involved.  Check out dip zone.com for more info on how Stacy’s and Sabra are working together to get some yum into your face on game day.

They are having a BUY SNAP SAVE promo that gets you a $5 gift card (just for buying and eating foods you will already want and enjoy!!!).  Yes please.

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Ok so let’s get this recipe going.

There are options aplenty, but I’m going to tell you what I did.

VEGAN HUMMUS SAUCE CHILAQUILES [vegan, gluten free*, soy free, dairy free, nut free]

Ingredients:

  • 3 large handfuls of corn tortilla chips
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tub Sabra hummus (I used original but any of the spicier varieties would be stellar)
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 2-3 tbsp enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • kale/avocado/lentil salad
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • handful cilantro
  • [optional toppings] eggs, sour cream, lime juice

Massaged kale lentil salad

  • 2 heaping cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 tub (4 oz) Sabra guacamole
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Make the kale salad by massaging the greens with olive oil until the greens start to break down a bit.  Then toss with lentils and guacamole until it’s uniformly mixed.

Heat olive oil on the stove in a 9″ (oven safe) pan. Add chips to coat the whole pan and let them fry in the oil, tossing as needed to brown.  Turn down heat while you make the hummus sauce.

Combine the hummus, salsa, and 1 tbsp of enchilada sauce then pour over the chips and turn the heat back up.  Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce on top, along with corn, and let cook until sauce gets hot and bubbly throughout.

Finally add the kale mixture and bake in the oven for 5 minutes.

Once out of the oven, add the cilantro and green onions, and dig in.

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*If it’s necessary, be sure to read the label of your enchilada sauce to note that it is gluten free.

This is pretty much the perfect game day food.  You can make a massive skillet and it only takes a quick time in the oven to get a nice crispy top, and then you place it down on the table and have at it.  If you’re having a Super Bowl party, make the meal a family style event!!  The lentils and kale get such a nice texture with that oven time.  And thanks to the greens, it’s kinda almost like you’re eating a salad while watching the game, right????  Totally.

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There are tweaks galore, as you can imagine, like swapping black beans for the lentils or red onions for green ones.  If you’re not vegan, crack a few eggs on top before sending them to the oven and you’ll get some nicely poached beauties after an extra ten minutes or so.  And while I don’t think cheese is at all missing from this equation, I won’t fault anyone who wants to double down on the dairy.

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Ok now tell me all your Super Bowl predictions??  I’m thinking Carolina is going the distance, but you never can count out Mr. Brady…

Five ways to get your kid to eat broccoli

I am one of those moms who is lucky enough to have a very adventurous eater.  P will try almost anything and has a pretty diverse palate.  He’s not remotely picky.  He likes kale and brussels sprouts as much as his mama (SO MUCH!); he enjoys prosciutto, dried figs, dates, and home-made (allergy free) pesto; and he asks for tofu with tamari by name on a regular basis.  But there are also things he very much doesn’t like.  He is not down with potatoes in any form, nor does he enjoy tomatoes much (he will tolerate them in a curry sauce and gives them a try straight from the summer garden once a week just in case).  And until he was about 14 months old, he did NOT like broccoli.  I tried giving it to him over and over and over and over and all of a sudden – BOOM – he loved it.  It was the biggest 180 I’ve ever seen in my life.  Rather than take credit for this (or any of his taste buds’ curiosity) I will simply offer a few ideas if you’re struggling.  Maybe these were factors in patty-cakes’ change of heart…

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FIVE WAYS TO GET YOUR KID TO EAT BROCCOLI*

  1. Put it in a smoothie – Go ahead, be sneaky.  Trickery only works so long with little people, you may as well embrace it for the short time period that you can.  Use a cup that’s not transparent and so long as you have other good flavors going on (banana, applesauce, berries, whatever), your little one will never know.  Same approach can be done with muffins (or any baked good) too.  Just puree whatever your kid won’t eat and bake it into something they will.  I have put everything from beans and hemp seeds to broccoli and beets in his smoothies.  He’s never been the wiser.  He also now thinks those are “normal” things that people put in smoothies.
  2. Be the role model and try, try, try again – JUST. KEEP. OFFERING.  It’s as simple as that.  If you don’t offer it, they can’t say yes.  I think I offered broccoli 2-3 times a week and he dramatically gagged on a tiny piece each time before refusing the rest.  I never pushed it too much, just tried again next time.  In the interim, he saw the rest of the family eating it and enjoying it (so be sure to model the behavior you want).  And then one day he just went for it.
  3. Offer something to dip it in – Kids (and adults?) seem to like dipping things.  Who knows the psychology behind it, but use it.  We are a mayo family and whenever there is something he is giving the side eye, I ask if he’d like to have some mayo on the side to dip it in.  It’s like a crutch.  It gives him a way to say yes when he thinks he wants to but isn’t sure.  Then he can dip it or not.  I don’t comment on his choice and sometimes after a few times of eating it “with” the condiment he doesn’t need (or ask for) the condiment any more at all.  Tamari is another sauce that he loves to dip things into; and honey/maple syrup is what I use for non-savory items.  A little (like 1 tsp) goes a long way – it’s more about him having the control.  [PS Thrive Market has mayo that’s practically home-made with fewer ingredients than you can count on one hand, including avocado oil]
  4. Revamp the look – Roast it, bake it, steam it, keep it raw.  Spiralize it, julienne it, make it in cute shapes to make a face on a plate.  Do anything new and exciting to change the look/taste/texture/mouth-feel of it.  For a long time I offered steamed broccoli and then one day there was a veggie platter at a friend’s party and next thing I know raw broccoli is flying into his face.  What?!?!  Just because you don’t think your kid will like something, don’t let it bias how you present it.  Maybe you don’t like raw bell peppers, so you never think to give them to your kid.  Or maybe you don’t like sautéed bell peppers, so you never think to offer them that way.  You get the point.  Experiment with how you do or don’t cook things.
  5. Put “worse” things on the plate – If there’s nothing on the plate your kid wants to eat, then they have to chose something right?  I guess not necessarily, but the reality is, if there are a bunch of offerings on the plate, your kid will eat the best things first.  So make the plate a bunch of foods that are not their favorites and see what happens.

*Or any other food he or she won’t eat

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Because I have to start somewhere

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January is here and all that jazz.  Resolutions, fresh starts, yadda yadda.  Moving on.

With blogging, the more time that passes, the further behind I get, and then I get overwhelmed and don’t know how or where to start.  I fear if I don’t just post something – anything – it may be February.  So here it goes.

December 29th

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Breakfast: lactation cookies (both flavors) and coffee [well rounded]

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Lunch: kale and cabbage salad with avocado, sunflower seeds, and grapes [also copious amounts of Brianna’s poppyseed dressing]

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Sips: Rebbl maca mocha [been eyeing these for months and months and finally caved – they are $$$$ but it turns out that’s because they are delicious.  FRICK.  can you hear that?  it’s the sound of my credit card spontaneously combusting in the whole foods checkout aisle]

Dinner: Unphotographed mystery meal?? [maybe leftovers?]

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Dessert: chocolate to the infinity power

…skipping ahead a bit…

January 1st

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Breakfast: banana waffles with Earth Balance [a lot a lot a lot]

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Lunch: massaged kale salad with lentils, Sabra’s roasted red pepper hummus, hemp seeds, red wine vinegar and olive oil [prepped a TON for lunches throughout the week]

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Sips: TJs triple ginger brew [from Santa baby]

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Dinner: quinoa, kale and white beans soup (stew?) with baked “meatballs”

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Dessert: more Christmas chocolate [duh]

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Check out my food prepping for the new year!

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Left: Roasted walnuts with rosemary, thyme, and (heavy on the) salt. Right: Pressed and cubed ‘fu.

January 2nd

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Breakfast: leftover waffles with almond butter and mega coffee

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Lunch: leftover kale salad with lentils and avocado

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Favorite reason to hear the doorbell ring, everrrrrrr.

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Dinner: freezer meal green enchilada casserole

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Dessert: chocolates from the pyramid and the mixed nuts seen above

January 3rd

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Breakfast: smoothie with Vega sport chocolate protein powder, frozen banana, flax meal, almond milk, and ice topped with granola

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Lunch: kale and cabbage salad with poppyseed dressing and avocado and Mary’s Gone crackers

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Dinner: vegan kale and white bean korma x2 [I doubled the recipe so I could bring dinner to a friend who needed help]

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Served over brown rice.

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Dessert: chocolate mclovin’

January 4th

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Breakfast: waffle french toast

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I wanted something special on Monday because it felt like a big deal after a couple of weeks with Kyle’s help to go back to the solo grind.  Parenting is obviously a labor of love (extreme love and a choice I feel super lucky to have) but the chaos of the holidays left me feeling weirdly nervous about Monday after our little routine had been abandoned for so long.  Anyway, that’s all just my long winded way of saying I made something special for myself on Monday morning because why the hell not?  I was thinking 2016 was going to be the year I work on self care but I can’t even commit to the potential of it.  Writing it out makes me feel silly, because I know I’m doing it for the sake of accountability but I also know I probably won’t do anything differently.  When push comes to shove, the mom guilt is like the devil on my shoulder whispering illogical things into my ear to prevent me from doing anything close to a #treatyoself.  Not meant to be a pity party, just keeping things honest.  Life is great, but I struggle and any moms reading can relate, I’m sure.

I made pancakes for the kiddos too, so we all had a luxurious breakfast (but not too drawn out since we hit up the train museum with friends that morning).

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P.S. sunbutter on top

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Lunch: kale and cabbage salad with sunflower seeds and avocado

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Dinner: kumquat glazed chicken thighs based on this recipe [basically I just used my own home-made kumquat jam instead of apricot jam and made it on the stove] served over broccoli slaw fried rice

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Dessert: Theo peppermint stick chocolate and mixed nuts [plus an unpictured chocolate “chippie” from the batch of cookies we made Santa]

January 5th

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Breakfast: smoothie with berries and granola [same ingredients as the previous]

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Lunch: leftover kale and slaw salad [prepared in bulk in case you didn’t sense that] with tuna salad [also prepped in bulk for everyone’s lunches]

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Dinner: moroccan carrot salad with millet

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I added roasted chickpeas to the recipe to make it a meal instead of a side.  I spy a kitchen side kick.

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I didn’t think red onions were my jam, but as it turns out, they are a whole different beast when they are roasted.  Pretty legit if I’m being honest.

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I prepped it in advance because we had a make up swimming class late on Tuesday night, which means we get home late and need a ready to go dinner.

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All I did when I got home from swimming was (change clothes) add pomegranate arils and serve us up.

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P ate this!!!!  Lots of it!!  And the leftovers the next day!

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Initially I served him a few of the components separately because (a) I wasn’t sure if the ras el hanout I had was allergen free and (b) I truly didn’t think he’d like the spices and herbs – alone or in combo.

But he proved me wrong ad that was a treat!  For the record, I got the ras el hanout as a gift a while ago and since it was from a fancy spice shop, it didn’t have a label or anything saying what was in it.  I googled the blend though and felt comfortable giving it to him once I saw there was no chance of it having peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame in it.  In case you don’t have the spice blend, the link has a recipe to make it yourself.  It’s all stuff you’d have on hand, so it wouldn’t require a separate trip to a specialty store.

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We all really enjoyed it, and like I said, the leftovers were claimed by the toddler – so just let that be an indication of the yum.

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Dessert: Tanzania bar from the chocolate passport [I got this from Santa too and have been so excited to try it.  So far, very impressed.  It tastes way richer than Trader Joe’s chocolate, that’s for sure.]

January 6th

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Breakfast: banana waffles with Earth Balance

The upside to being up at 5 am is you have plenty of time to do stuff in the morning before your first activity (in this case Music class at 9:30).  Case in point, the above waffles were one of three batches I made because I was up and whatever.

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Lunch: his on the left and mine on the right [leftovers all around]

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Dinner: baked potatoes with the works [I baked them in the oven coated in oil so the skin got nice and crispy and then we topped them with cheese (Daiya for me), roasted corn, kidney beans, and salsa.  P doesn’t like potatoes so this was the night he had the leftover Moroccan millet dish.  He ate a ton of “kid” beans too.]

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Dessert: more from the chocolate passport and more chocolate “chippies” [I have zero interest in cutting out sugar or desserts in the new year, in case you couldn’t tell]

January 7th

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Breakfast: leftover waffles with sunbutter

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Lunch: kale salad AGAINNNNNN [with Mary’s Gone crackers]

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Dinner: leftover vegan white bean and kale korma with white rice

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Dessert: TJs fireworks chocolate bar (I missed this one!!!) + the rest of the Tanzania chocolate bar + almond kisses

January 8th

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Breakfast: smoothie with granola [you know the drill by now]

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Lunch: kale salad with Beyond Meat strips

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I was extraordinarily starving this day for some random reason and despite including an entire avocado (and seeds and such) in with my massaged greens, I knew I needed more oomph.  So I pulled these Beyond Meat “chicken-free strips” out (they were already thawed because I pulled them from the freezer earlier in the week).

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After all that, I still needed an afternoon snack too.  Ravenous much?

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Dinner: quinoa, spinach, and roasted butternut squash with this almond butter dressing

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I had forgotten about Chef AJs “Hail to the Kale” salad and was brainstorming a sauce to add to the squash, quinoa, spinach combo that I have been craving for such a long time.  Remember how bowls like these used to be my favorite meal ever?  Add in seitan and it would be like 2012 all over again.

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P loved this meal like crazy and ate another bowl after his was gone.  Must be some good saucy sauce.

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Dessert: the last of the “real deal chocolate chippies” and the rest of the TJs firecracker bar

*Please note, I did not include my snacks or beverages because I was too lazy to photograph things as I took handfuls or sips here and there.  The batch walnuts I roasted were key in keeping healthier things in my mouth but I still re-opened the forbidden romance that is the Quest bar.  I was really late to that party, but a few months ago they entered my life and try as I might, it’s hard to shake them.  They taste soooo good but man is the ingredients list long.  Yogi ginger tea is another daily thing I do.  Usually during the 4 second overlap in nap times around 230.  It’s short but blissful.  Kombucha is a once a week treat that I wish I could make daily, but the triple ginger brew stood in for those cravings this past week. Oh!  I also haven’t gone to Starbucks in over a week!!  This is a big deal because I started getting into a bad bad habit back in November and then I found out they were possibly opening a drive through near me and well, yeah, I needed to take a step back.  I’m kinda in shock I made it this long.  Now I have a streak and I’m inspired to keep it going.

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Holidays as four

The holidays with children are unlike anything I’ve experienced before.  I loved Christmas as a kid (obviously) but seeing it all through the eyes of your toddler is just a whole other tier of fun.  There are no words to describe the joy.

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Setting new traditions in motion, pacman and I baked cookies together for Santa.

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What a cutie pie.  He’s a champ of a sous chef.

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We used Danielle Walker’s recipe for “real deal chocolate chip cookies”.  He calls them “chocolate chippies”.  This was actually the first time he’s really had chocolate aside from the few bites of cake he smooshed around on his tray back on his first birthday.  I used Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips because they are free of every allergen ever.

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That’s him dipping into the measuring cup before pouring it into the mixer.  Sampling taste testing is a key thing to learn as a chef, right?

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We made the batter on the 23rd and rolled it up to refrigerate over night.

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Then on Christmas Eve we got our bake on.

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Once dinner was done, we got things ready for Santa and his posse (he wanted to leave carrots for the reindeer and bread with butter for the elves – ??? – but we settled on just the carrots).

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This is his I-LOVE-COOKIES face.

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“His” tree was essentially the love of his life for 45 straight days.

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All the stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

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The next morning was low key.  It was just the four of us so Kyle and I worked out per usual first thing upon rising and then once P woke up we kinda had to remind him about his stocking.   After stockings we enjoyed pumpkin gingerbread waffles (and bacon for the boys).

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Kyle’s plate (hence the bacon and butter).  The batter was SO GOOD I really wish I’d written it down (I didn’t measure anything or write it down of course).  I mixed the batter then night before so it was all ready to pour on the griddle as soon as it heated up, which made for a super easy morning.

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After breakfast we opened our presents to each other, which was was quick, and then headed off to my parents’ house.  From the second we pulled into their driveway we pretty much hit the ground running.  We only had a limited number of hours (minutes really!) before P’s lunch and nap so we busted right into presents.  Thomas was the theme of the day, but new books have been MASSIVE wins ever since.  If patty cakes had his way we would do nothing but read all day long.  We do try, but his baby sister isn’t so into that.  She is more into eating pages.

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Tissue paper is still a hit for both pequeños.

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Ladies with Roscato.

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Valley girl.

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Family photo and now let’s eat!!

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Good spread mom.  :)

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Christmas crackers because the Aussies were in town.  [They scared P]

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My first plate (I had seconds of root veggies).

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Cobbler in the works.  I failed in not taking a photo of my dessert plate but that’s probably for the best because I had SIX pieces of chocolate peanut butter fudge and more wine.  Tis the season, yo!  We played Cards Against Humanity (with Australian cards!!) and it was SO HILARIOUS.  My dad and I were in the zone, but that’s no surprise since we function on a similar wavelength for much of the time anyway.  Or at least I wish we did.  He’s totally the coolest.  Eventually we went to bed, but it was a short sleep because the babes don’t sleep very well when away from our house.

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My sweet sweet boy.

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The next morning we went to breakfast at Chow with my NYC girlies (who were in town because we grew up together and so we were all home with our parents for the holidays).

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Hi baby blues.

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They are both so obsessed with each other, and they watch each other like a hawk.  She looks up to him like nothing I’ve ever seen.

After breakfast, we hit the road back to Davis.  We ate late lunches that were more like snacks since our breakfasts were so big, but then we had salmon, rice, and broccoli for dinner which I already showed here.

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Santa brought P some of these (which I heard he got from Thrive Market) and they are a big time hit.  Must be due to the “fancy molasses”.

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Allergy friendly stuff is so easy and convenient to come by thanks to Thrive Market.  Yeah, it’s processed and therefore a treat, but isn’t that what the holidays are about?  He asks for them every once in a while after dinner but hasn’t seemed to mind when I say no.  When I say yes though, he is ALL ABOUT IT.  Seriously though, Mi-del, what’s with the fancy molasses??

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Speaking of little kid food…we are doing baby lead weaning with V for half her eats, but I make purees for her too because it’s a faster way for her to get some actual calories in.  But then Santa got her a few jars of this Beech-Nut organic baby food so that’s fun (because it gives me a night off food prep for one family member).  The consistency is pretty thin, though, so I added chia seeds to thicken it all up.  Let me tell you, baby girl wants to do everything herself.  Fact: spoon feeding is not as fun as shoveling bananas and roasted squash to the face.

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This was my evening on the 26th.  Can anyone else relate?  Putting together crane trucks and trying to figure out which parts are not going end up sending us to the ER from a choking accident requires cookies, natch.

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My little puppy!  She follows me everywhere.

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Between Christmas and New Years we did a lot of playing because Kyle had the time (forced) off.  One of our friend’s toy room turned into a market!  He got his hands dirty making me some cookies.  We did a lot of (real) cookie eating in December too.  Like everyone, I succumbed to the seize the day season marketing scheme and indulged a little more than I usually do.  Or maybe I didn’t, I don’t know.  I am never one to hold back on desserts, whether it is the holidays or not.  The main difference between this time of year and the rest of the year, is that I managed to eat out (at restaurants) considerably more than I ordinarily do.  Technically, that’s not saying a lot because I make 99% of our meals, and that lingering 1% is made up of “treat meals” like the WF hot bar and Nugget prepared foods (sandwiches).  But I’ve gotten out of practice and so I’m therefore not used to the splurge of dining.  It feels indulgent, especially when it happens THREE MEALS IN A ROW.  Yeah, I went out to a restaurant back to back to back.  Let’s talk about it.

We went back to the East Bay for a fake NYE celebration on the 30th because Kyle and I didn’t want to pay $$$$ for a pre fixe meal on the 31st.  Also, my parents volunteered to babysit the kiddos so you KNOW we hit that up.

There was also the matter of a girls date (with my mom, sisters, and some friends who I grew up with and basically consider sisters).  That was planned for the 30th during P’s lunch so that Kyle could stay with him while I took V on a girl’s adventure.

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This is the house made black bean veggie burger from The Cooperage with a spinach salad.  I couldn’t decide between the veggie burger and the salad, so I got both.  The salad was fantastic – candied pecans, goat cheese, and a vinaigrette that would have made me happy and full on it’s own.  The burger was icing on the cake but I was too distracted by V to focus on eating it there so I basically took it home with me and then ate back at my parents’ house.  It’s difficult dining with babies while trying to catch up with friends (and eat too).

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That evening Kyle and I went on a date to Postino.

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Followed by a movie (Star Wars).  We got home before midnight but it was definitely the latest I’ve been up in a LONG time and I paid for it dearly the next day.  Turns out, I am a disaster without enough sleep.  Poor Kyle had to deal with my bad mood all day.  Fail.

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Here are my two breakfasts from the next morning.  We went to Chow as a family to celebrate my dad retiring!  He is officially done, although he is still keeping occupied with some other work stuff that’s not with his hospital.  Anyway, I wanted something sweet, but the gluten free and dairy free options weren’t super plentiful.  I got both the quinoa bowl and the granola and basically combined them.  One good thing about Chow is they are dedicated to food sustainability and quality sourcing, so they are all local and organic ingredients.

After dining, we hit the road, once again, back to Davis.  So much driving!!!!  The kids were such troopers even though they were SO OVER the car at this point.  I was too.

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Happy dances ensued when I realized I had leftover fries from The Cooperage to eat for lunch.  I popped them in the oven on broil and they tasted good as new!!  Seriously!

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I paired them with (duhhhh) a kale salad.

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I just discovered this organic slaw mix from TJs and I have brought it a bunch ever since.  It’s the perfect thing to toss with kale to make bulk salads.

For the 31st, I made a “fancy” dinner in.  It took a lot of brainstorming to come up with something that was the perfect amount of special without being too over the top difficult (since we were driving home that day and likely to hit a bunch of Tahoe traffic).

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Pork tenderloin and a basic green salad were the settled on dishes.

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The salad was the easy part and yet, that’s the part I messed up.  I made a balsamic dressing that had WAY too much lemon in it.  I don’t know what I was thinking – I totally spaced out when I was zesting and juicing.  Kyle didn’t mind but I think he was being nice since I was in such a crabby mood already.

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I seared the tenderloin on the grill first to brown the sides, before adding the (rosemary honey dijon) marinade and grapes and popping the lid on and throwing it in the (pre-heated) oven.

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I loved the way the grapes roasted!  We got almond milk ice creme for dessert because we planned on making sundaes but then we both totally forgot!!  Guess we will have to add them to the January menu.  :)

Phew!  Now back to home cooked meals in the New Year!!