Hungry Hungry Hippie

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The weekly menu


I accidentally went to WF and bought a tin of bark.  I don’t know why I wandered over to the cookie/dessert bar section of the store, I think I was looking for an individual Califia pumpkin almond milk because I wanted to try a smaller size before committing to the big one, but anyway…they had all these different yummy kinds of bark.  And then it was like do I buy a few for $$$ or do I get my money’s worth and fill the tin for the $13.99.  Ummm…get my money’s worth yo!?!  So you KNOW I PACKED that moffa freakin’ tin to the brim.  And yet, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad as I left the store, knowing I totally won from my bank account’s perspective, but lost from my stomach’s (and by that I mean my body in general because hi calories aren’t something that just vanish once they enter my mouth).  I mean let’s be real, just because WF made it, does not mean it’s even close to a health food.  Anyway, I’m not too broken up about it because chocolate is delicious and life is short.  Hashtag treat yo self.

Monday was off to an easy start thanks to LEFTOVERS!


We all had a little of everything, except for Kyle who had a lot of turkey and no cranberry jelly.  Apparently he doesn’t love ridges the way P and I do.


Tuesday was equally easy because the rest of the Thanks-mas leftovers were made into a stew.


I put the carcass in the crock pot immediately after the main meal was done and let it simmer (in a bunch of water) overnight and the whole next day.  The next day, I picked all the meat off the bones and added lots of veggies (onion, celery, carrots, kale, etc.) and then let it cook the rest of the day.  I added brown rice too.  It was really good and P even liked it!  I didn’t give him much broth so that helped (his was basically a rice dish).


The baking bug hit me that night, so I decided to put the extra raspberries in our fridge to good use before they went bad.  Kyle and P don’t like raspberries so they were all for me and since I don’t love them raw, I thought a baked good would be the best option.

My pinterest folder had just one recipe with raspberries so that’s the one I went with.  It’s a detoxinista recipe, which means it didn’t require tweaks because Megan eats basically the same way we do.


The only issue I had was that the batter didn’t yield as many muffins as hers did.  I have no clue why but whatever…I got 9 delicious muffins.  I only added chocolate chips to half of them because I had a sneaking suspicion that P would want some when he saw me eating them (which definitely happened).


The next morning I had three.  With almond butter.


So yeah, they lasted three days, which was an accomplishment for sure.


Don’t be deceived by the two shown in these photos.  I immediately realized it wouldn’t be enough – and then bulked them up with nut butter too.


I turned to the freezer stash on Wednesday and grabbed some beef ragu to thaw during the day.

I served the brothy portion to Kyle so he could soak it up with bread, but P and I ate a smaller (less saucy) serving with salad.


P didn’t have salad dressing on his because it has dairy in it.  Luckily he likes plain lettuce, especially crunchy romaine.


By the way, I didn’t really like Annie’s Caesar dressing.  I bought Brianna’s this time which is definitely my favorite dressing brand.  If only Thrive Market sold Brianna’s!  It’s one of the few things I still have to go to WF for.


I just heaped the salad on top of my ragu.  It reminded me of the pulled pork Caesar salad I get at farmer’s market.  I already miss Wednesday night markets.  :(  Evidently my subconscious is too, since I made this dish without even realizing it.


By Thursday I was out of muffins, so my breakfast was banana bread (from the freezer because I still have a TON that I baked before giving birth).  I also tried a new sunflower seed butter, which I order from Thrive.  I didn’t mean to order “lightly sweetened” sun butter and it was definitely sweet.  Bummer.  I’m sure the jar won’t last long so that’s fine, but the bigger issue is that they share equipment with all kinds of allergens.  As a result, I don’t think I feel comfortable giving this to P.  I still have to contact the company, so we will see what they reply with.  In the meantime, I’ll just eat it all myself.


A great sacrifice.  😉


Quick bread was gone by Saturday.  Guess I’ll have to bake again soon.


Here’s the leftover stew on Thursday night.  Good enough for me.  No complaints from the boys either.  There’s only one(ish) serving remaining though so I think it’ll be someone’s lunch.

Friday was cold and blah outside so I wanted something warm and cozy to fill our bellies.


After several months of getting pushed back to “next week’s” menu, this lasagna soup finally got it’s moment in the spotlight.


OMGLUTTONY this was fantastic in every way that a Friday night meal should be.


Kyle loves lasagna.  It’s one of his favorites that I make and he swears they get better and better every time I make them, even though I make them (basically) the same way every time.


I felt like a soup version was more my scene though (also way easier to fit in during nap times than layering), and in order to make it allergy friendly for P, I made a bunch of tweaks.


First off, I used tinkyada gluten free noodles which I ordered off Thrive Market.

IMG_1281I also used this vegan cheese which is new to me.


I normally go with Daiya when doing the faux cheese thing, but opted for this because it was at TJs and I didn’t feel like going to another store (WF) for just one item.  Oddly enough, Trader Joe’s sells a bunch of non-dairy cheeses that are NOT in fact lactose or casein free.  Weird right?  It says right on the front 99% lactose free.  Who is this product being marketed to?  Why would someone want something with a little bit of dairy?  So strange.  Anyway, the above cheese is, in fact, vegan (and therefore entirely free of dairy).


AAAAAAND it melts!  New favorite.


Additionally, I swapped veg broth for the liquids (chicken broth and cream) and nixed the garlic altogether (but I did use garlic infused olive oil so the flavor was there).  I intended to use plain soy milk for the cream but totally forgot about it until writing this post.  Whoops!  Didn’t need it though – it was plenty plenty rich.


This is the tomato sauce I chose.  Do you know how many marinara sauces have sneaky soy and wheat and dairy in them!?!?  Like, all of them.  Ugh.  It’s so lame.  Check labels people.  Trader Joe’s most basic ones that you think are the plainest of plain have both soy and dairy.


I grew up with the Classico brand in my mom’s pantry and now they have organic varieties that are sold in three packs at Costco.  Done and done.


I did everything in advance during naps except adding noodles and cheese.  I waited til an hour or so before dinner time to do that part.  Although it’s good to know that tinkyada can hold up to extensive simmering (see the label above).  I’ve had some GF noodle disasters lately that have been super frustrating, so this may be the brand I stick to from here on out.


Ok, so actually, Pacman did all the noodle work.  I didn’t do any of it, just stood there and supervised.


He is such a sweet little chef.


Pretty soon he will be cooking me breakfast in bed, no??


Oh!  I also just found this at TJs.  So cool right?  I often find that I end up wasting the unused portion of tomato paste (and yes, I know you can freeze it, but I think they disappear in the depths of the freezer or something) so this is the perfect solution.  A little tube that you can just squeeze out the amount you need per recipe.  It’s not organic, which is a bummer because tomatoes are a dirty crop, but I suppose I use tomato paste so infrequently that it’s an okay place to bed the rules.


Kyle’s (first) portion had parmesan on top, but the rest of us obviously kept things dairy free.  His second portion was without parmesan and he thought it was perfectly good on it’s own, so there you have it.  No dairy needed.  He also didn’t even know there was vegan cheese involved.  This recipe provided enough for two days worth of dinners, so anticipate seeing it again in next week’s meal plan (because I’m not donating these leftovers to Kyle’s lunches – they are too good!).


TGIF much?  Vino and home-made baby food.


Here are some desserts from the week, too.


Obviously this is supplementary to the bark that I opened the post with.  And the Halloween candy that we stole from my parents’ house.

Thanks-mas weekend

We have already entered holiday zone.


Kyle’s parents came for the weekend and we celebrated both Thanksgiving and Christmas together.  Because why not?

I wasn’t involved in picking the date, but since they were gifted Niners tickets to Sunday’s game, they scheduled their holiday visit to California for this past weekend and now the ball is officially rolling…straight ahead til New Years!!!!!!


At least the weather shifted this week.  So it does, in fact, feel like Fall now.  We even got sprinkles.  Now my plants are happy again (drought problems).

Let’s get to the really important stuff.  Thanks-mas menu planning!


I made this butternut sweet potato casserole.  Minimalist is definitely my style.  I used two different kinds of sweet potatoes/yams.  And I used walnuts instead of pecans on top.  I. Loved. It.  In truth, it might have been my number one.  Carbs are good and all, but squash and potatoes and nuts?!  Hells yes.


The stuffing I made was loosely based on this recipe, but simplified for the sake of using fewer bowls/dirtying dishes.


Kyle thought it was perrrrrfect.  And he was the only person I was aiming to please, really, since stuffing is just kinda whatever in my book.  Am I missing something?  Why are we so excited about herby savory bread?  Anyway, he wanted something simple and classic with lots of sage flavor and apparently this delivered big time.  I used Udi’s gluten free baguettes for the bread so it was allergy free.  Pattycakes thought it was good enough to clear his plate but I think he was fairly neutral on it beyond that.


And for the turkey, we went a new route and tried rotisserie!  I used this as a guide, but then let the men take over (I’d cleaned and dry brined the bird two days in advance, so I just rubbed it in olive oil and (more) herbs before giving it to them to do their thing).


Our grill actually has a rotisserie spear and motor and luckily the weather was nice enough for Kyle and his dad to do everything outside.  It certainly made my life easier – opened up oven space and took no effort on my part after I gave it to therm (until carving time).  I really think dry brining is the way to go.  Also, by leaving it open to air in the fridge for >24 hours, the brine really soaked into the skin and seemed to get alllllll the moisture into the meat.  The skin crisped up so well.  It was way different than roasting.  Now that we know how to use the rotisserie there may be more of that in our future.  It’s a good group entertaining option.


Doing my blogger thing.  😉


Question: how do you get your toddler to inhale sprouts?  Answer: BACON.


This brussels sprouts dish was the one I winged.  I pan fried them in bacon fat with pancetta, then deglazed the pan with white balsamic vinegar.  I love the acidic tones with the fatty bitter greens.  It was tied with the butternut sweet potato dish for the top spot.  Mmmmmmm.


Here’s the full spread!


Yup, canned cranberry jelly.  Gotta have ridges.


The one prob with rotisserie is you can’t get the drippings for gravy (as easily).  I made the gravy from the neck (ewwwww) and bulked it up with organic broth, seasoned it with thyme, parsley, sage, salt and pepper, and then thickened it with cornstarch.  Kyle’s mom offered to pull the meat off the neck after I cooked it and I gladly took her up on it.

The turkey was an organic heritage bird from Diestel Turkey Farm in Sonora.  I ordered it from Whole Foods.  WF is having a sale right now where you can order online and get a $10 off coupon.  You don’t have to get a turkey, sides or whatever are included too.  Good for Thanksgiving planning.  Here are the deets.


Back to the meal.


The above photo shows the roasting I did the day before for the squash and sweet potato casserole.  I did a bit of prep the day before, but not too much because I chose a strategically straight forward menu.  And above it is the baked French toast casserole I made for breakfast that morning.  We needed a quick morning because I had to get food in P and then get us to swimming by 9 am.  I cherish our swimming dates.  I also wanted to not be stressed about getting back to the kitchen immediately or anything.  So it was nice to have some of the stuff already taken care of the day before.

After it cooled a bit I pureed it right in the casserole dish thanks to the immersion blender.  But I didn’t candy the nuts until the next day.


Then the oven made it all crispy on top.  So perfect.


I served P some of everything.


He asked what the walnuts were and I told him candied walnuts with sweet potatoes, to which he replied “sometimes I trick or treat for candy!”  Yep little buddy, sometimes you do.  And then mom and dad eat it all.


Based on his empty plate, I’d say it was a success.  The sprouts were the first thing he went for!  He had seconds of cranberry jelly too.

But the best part of the night for him was probably dessert.


For the first time ever, he had “ice cream” and it blew his little mind.  P and I shared the coconut bliss, while everyone else went the dairy route.

One of the songs for this session of Music Together is about ice cream, and he’s read a million stories about ice cream, but it’s always been an unknown for him because (a) he has a million allergies and (b) I don’t feed him sugar.  But the holidays are for splurging right??


How perfect.  Another Music Together song is about pie.  :)  If you know my son, you know how major a role music plays in his life (he hums and sings for 99% of the time he’s awake), so the continuous food themes make it fun.

I prepped the pie cobbler the day before but didn’t bake it.  Instead I kept it in the fridge until we fished the main meal that afternoon, then I cranked the oven and put it in so it was hot out of the oven when our stomach’s had a tiny bit of room.


His and hers.  Luna and Larry is goooood.  The cold weirded him out at first, but then he tasted the sugar and realized it was delicious.


Sooooo that was the Thanks-mas part of the weekend.  The rest of the time…


Target shopping with my elf sidekick spaz.


Breakfasting both Saturday and Sunday was this same thing.  Baked French toast with applegate sausage and berries. In truth, this was Kyle’s portion.  I had French toast with sun butter both days (no sausage).


Snacks to tide us over tilt he main event.  We had GF and wheat crackers to pair.  The far left may have been a goat cheese too…we couldn’t remember.  Either way I stuck to the honeybee goat gouda and it was delicious.


On Sunday we went to the niners game!  We left the kiddos with my parents…which was a HUGE deal for me.  I’ve never been away from both kids and nobody but Kyle has given V a bottle.  But my parents are pros so I had no worries.  I left them with a ton of frozen milk and then pumped before the game and made it home in time to nurse her before bed.


Levi’s Stadium has LEGIT food options.  This was all gluten free!  I had heaps and heaps (and heaps) of kettle corn too.


After the game, Kyle’s parents dropped us off (and headed to the airport) and we had dinner with my fam bam.


Next thing I knew it was Monday and rainy.  Wah.  Why aren’t weekends longer??

The weekly menu

Running through this past week’s dinners fast because I have a fun weekend post to share…


This is out of order, but I am too lazy to copy and paste the photos correctly.  HA!  So above is Wednesday’s meal.  My dad came to play but I wasn’t sure if he’d be joining us for dinner.  Once he determined he was staying, he called on the way over and offered to pick up extra chicken thighs.  Then I just made extra peas and rice and sauce.  Boom.


I didn’t measure the ingredients I put into the sweet dijon mustard sauce – just taste tested my way there.  It had garlic infused olive oil, lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  I meant to add parsley at the end but forgot.  Oops.


Found these bad boys at Costco last visit.  Dangerous dangerous dangerous.


Monday night was fish.  I’d been craving salmon all weekend, but we didn’t make it to the store until late late Sunday.  Daylight savings really effed up naps in our house.  Anyway, we grabbed food to go on the way home from the store Sunday night, so I don’t have a photo.  I got a thai salad was from the prepared food section at the North Davis Nugget (aka the fancy good one we never go to).  I loved it and would definitely get it again.


So yeah, I wanted fish on Monday.


Easiest combo that we all love – broccoli, quinoa, and salmon with a tamari, ginger, and oil marinade.


Tuesday’s turkey stew was a step in the right direction for getting P on board with brothy meals.


I sautéed ground turkey and then added chard from our garden, herbs, and chicken broth and let it simmer.  Later that day when I had time again, I added carrots, celery, and purple sweet potatoes.


It was pretty salty, which I think is why P took to it so well.  I served him the chunky stuff without much broth so he could eat it on his own.  I love these kinds of meals when the weather is blah, so I’m glad the rest of the family did too.


Thursday’s dinner was fried (cauli) “rice” to clean out the freezer and fridge.  I’ve had a packet of TJ’s frozen “riced” cauliflower in the freezer forever and somehow never used it.  I basically combined a bunch of stuff from the freezer here including mixed veggies, cauliflower, and shrimp…then I added eggs, tamari, ginger, fish sauce, rice vinegar, and called it a day.  P ate the same thing, insanely enthusiastically, I might add.  I guess the time away from shrimp made him miss it, hence the famous idiom.

Which brings us to Fridayyyyyy…


Rather than go all out and cook a big meal from scratch, I decided to actually simplify my life and get pre-made Vicolo pizzas for us.  Kyle’s parents arrived in town that morning and so while P napped, I went grocery shopping with the girl group for all our weekend needs.  Which was a LOT of stuff (holidays came early this year!!).  So yeah, we had pizza and Caesar salad because I had more important ways to spend my time.  We ended up with leftovers because we ambitiously got FOUR pizzas (one of every kind!) which has been helpful already this week in giving me something to gobble down while battling the mayhem of sick kids stuck inside during a rain storm.  I may jinx it by saying this, but Vicolo pizzas never bother my stomach despite having both gluten and dairy.  I had leftovers for P because he’s obviously not able to tolerate either of those things with his allergies, but my GI tract is such a weirdo that this one kind of pizza is one I will happily indulge in while my body remains forgiving.

Stay tuned for this…


Tea Leaf Granola

I first got the idea to do this from Caitlin’s blog, but she used peppermint tea which is totally not my thing.  But I made a mental note to revisit the idea when my current granola stash ran out.  And serendipitously enough, the very next day I received an email from Andy, the founder of Plum Deluxe tea.  They make organic fair trade loose leaf teas with interesting combinations and blends.  You all know, I’m a tea lover, so obviously I was totally on board to try them out and share my thoughts with you guys.


Chai is my favorite ever, and I’ve been drinking that one plain with a splash of coconut milk now that the weather decided to get Fall like.  It’s the best of the three I think.

I like the Mindful Morning Black tea a lot too, but I don’t do much caffeine so it’s been on the back burner until I’m not nursing quite as much.


And then there was the pumpkin.


Oooooo…such a seasonal treat!  This one smelled good enough to eat, so why not?


Pumpkin and Coconut Tea Leaf Granola [gluten free, soy free, dairy free, vegan]

  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin tea (loose leaf or removed from bag)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp NuNaturals liquid stevia
  • 1 tbsp vanilla


Mix everything in a large bowl.  Spread onto greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  [Optional: Toss with a spatula and bake for an additional 1-5 minutes to get a more toasty granola]  Let cool completely to keep clusters in tact.


It has a distinct tea flavor which makes it unique and unlike any other granola I’ve ever had.  It’s really cool!  And the combo of pumpkin and coconut is super delicious.  I’m sorry I don’t have fancier photos of it on a bowl of greek yogurt or atop a creamy thick smoothie, but don’t let my amateur photos deter you from making it.  It’s a perfect breakfast or snack, and I’ve been popping clusters in my mouth all day long since it’s on the counter.  Note to self: get it off the counter.

The weekly menu

This week’s meal plan was so uninspired I almost didn’t share it.  I’ve been so lazy with grocery shopping I set myself up for disaster because I only had a few set meals and the rest I just factored in as “wing it” days.  Which is fine when you have a full freezer (which we do) but it’s not very exciting.


Soup and salad.  So basic.  Whatever.  This soup isn’t that good.  At least not by itself.  I will use the rest in a recipe that will make it not the focal point, but won’t buy again.

The salad was a simple spinach, goat cheese, pepitas, dried cranberries concoction.  Tossed in olive oil and glazed balsamic.


Kyle had requested grits a while ago, but I forgot to order the polenta from my Thrive order so I had to wait until the next one, which is my really long winded and unnecessary explanation as to why I only just got around to making grits this week.


The greens are from our garden.  So far the aphids have left the chard alone.  I’m keeping a close eye on those MFers.  Anyway, I sautéed the greens and organic chicken sausage together in oil and apple cider vinegar, and served it over a bowl of warm grits (made with half water half almond milk) and then added a pat of Earth Balance on top too.  Butter and vinegar seem like an odd combo but they work in harmony in terms of taste bud action.


Apparently I didn’t take photos of the prep of this meal, but I roasted sweet potatoes (the purple murasaki ones from TJs) and then paired it with pork tenderloin and broccoli with some BBQ sauce on top.  The fries were the highlight.


Hi and hers meatball meals here, with the wheat pasta for him and squash noodles for me (I wasn’t that hungry from a late snack that morphed into a more meal-sized portion).  P had both squash and (leftover) GF noodles that I’d made earlier in a bulk meal prep session.


This is now (finalllllly) the last of the rotisserie chicken that I bought on sale a million years ago and froze in 1/2 chicken portions.  I was going to make the same BBQ quinoa mexi-salad that I made a few weeks back but then we didn’t have frozen corn.  Fail.  So I used mixed frozen veggies and ditched the mexican theme altogether.  It was weird but good enough.  Ha.  Not a sales pitch there.


Saturday was Halloween so I didn’t want to do anything that required effort.  P and Kyle had beef burgers and I had a kale salad.  Done and done.