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My second birthday of food

Since I couldn’t decide on my birthday meal I told Kyle I was making it a double header.  Not like he cares – it is really no different from me cooking any other night.  Except that usually I get his input on the weekly menu (or at the very least his blessing) and for this week I kinda just said this is what I’m making because it’s what I want.

But it was ribs, skillet corn bread and green beans, soooooo…he was hardly putting up a fight.  😉

I had leftover pancakes with cashew butter for breakkie.

I made the kids vegan shells n cheese with peas for lunch, which they LOVED and finished off in entirety.

Then I ate this salad from TJs for my lunch (with avocado added per usual).  I only bought ONE of those salads this week because I’m committed to weaning myself off pre-made salads.  They’re good to lean on in a pinch, but I’d rather make my own.  It just takes time to plan out – prepping dressings, chopping veggies, and getting the toppings/add-ins ready – that I have to remember to fit into my life.  This past weekend was busyish (and Kyle was forcing me to relax), so I didn’t do as much prep as I typically do.

Now let’s discuss dinnah.

I followed the rub recipe from Ready Or Not and then put these in the fridge the night before so they had had a decent amount of time to sweat before I set to work on them the next day during naps.  I actually had to work quickly because I had to make skillet cornbread too and finish it all before a landscape consultant came by at 2.

DUDE!  This is the skillet cornbread from Danielle Walker’s cookbook, Celebrations.   And I was VERY skeptical of a recipe that used the name cornbread, but doesn’t in fact have any corn or cornmeal in it.  Or grains at all. But I was eating my words after tasting it that night because oooooooeeeee was it ever something good.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I put the ribs in the instant pot so I wouldn’t have to deal with them.  Normally they take a couple of hours.  Aint nobody got time for that.  Push some buttons and be done with that.  Next!

[PS I have this instant pot – for the few of you who have commented or emailed about which model I got]

Ummm…soooo…I rellllly don’t like buying processed food but look what “the kids gave me” for my birthday. What the heck am I supposed to do now???  I’m kinda annoyed by this actually because I dodged buying these the week before when the kids saw them at the checkout end cap.  I was vague about why I didn’t want to buy them because I felt awkward saying “they’re crap” in front of the TJs employee and other shoppers but I guess I wasn’t firm enough.  So now I have to be excited that they got them for me!?!?  When all it really means is they want them for themselves.  Blah.  They have asked about them every day since so I finally caved and gave them one each.  Meanwhile I am reading a cookbook by Michelle Tam about converting her family to eating real food and ditching said crap.  Super.  I feel like I’m going in the reverse direction.  It’s a tricky spot because Pacman is getting over his food allergies that were so limiting before, which I want to celebrate; and yet, I feel guilty that I’m no longer making hemp milk and fruit/seed bars from scratch, etc.  Kyle thought I was insane when I brought it up to him – and he may be partially right – but I still feel that pressure to give them the very best.  The balance is not sacrificing my sanity in the process.

Just before dinner that night I added some BBQ sauce to the already-cooked-in-the-instant-pot ribs (not a ton because I don’t love the overpowering insanely sweet nature of store bought BBQ sauces and I haven’t – yet – made my own) and broiled them for 5 minutes.

Voila!

Served with the cornbread and green beans.

What.  A.  Meal.

I stuffed myself silly and was beyond pleased about the entire thing.  I knew I wasn’t having dessert, so I committed to glutton status and went for it.

This “cornbread” is so good.  The kids kept asking for more and more and more.  I ended up freezing the remaining portion for another meal since I didn’t know how to store it in the skillet and have no immediate plans for it in the future.  The ribs are gone, obviously.  Instant pot ribs are the way to go!  After all, that’s basically the recipe my friend made that finally turned my mind on the whole IP debate.

Elise Cumpleanos

I started the day with a bike ride.  All good.

P had a field trip so after dropping him off and putting his car seat in another car, I brought V in to the childcare (same place as P’s school) for MOPS.  I was planning on staying with her the whole time because of how much of a disaster it was trying to leave her alone in church and during parent teacher conferences (all the same place) regardless of her having her older brother with her!  So as much as I WANTED to be in with my fellow mamas socializing and eating, I decided to play the long game and get her comfortable with the kids’ room even if it meant me being there the entire meeting.

I hung our with her for…I don’t know…maybe 10-15 minutes?  And she was so happy.  So I told her I was going to the bathroom.  And didn’t come back.  [eeeeek]  It was a questionable mom move, FOR SURE, and I was feeling terrible the entire time, second guessing if I was going to lose all her trust after this.  I got myself some coffee and food and chatted it up, but couldn’t stop wondering how she was doing.  I had a pager just in case, but I crept down the hall just to peek in on her before the speaker started.  She was playing so I didn’t mess with it, and just went back to my friends.

Birthday breakfast treats included a donut, egg cheese spinach bake, sausage, and allllll the java.

My pager went off an hour or so later, but after I calmed her down and wiped her tears away. she was cool and came in to hang with me until our time was up.  Probably only 20 more minutes.  She swiped a donut and a yogurt too…helllooooo sugar.  And then she helped clean up and played with the rest of the kids until P and his classmates returned from the field trip.

I was so shocked at how great my little drummer girl did.  This is such a big step for her.  And me.  I may actually get to attend a full MOPS meeting at some point without her.  And since it was my birthday, I had a bunch of love coming my way alllll morning long (the birthday balloon on my chair helped give me away).

After the kids ate lunch, I busted into this guy.  How could I NOT try this?  TJs knows me.

I added avo because it’s me.  Duh.

And then I did some dinner and dessert prep.

Tahini dressing is my JAM.  This was a little unbalanced for my palate so I added 2 tbsp of maples syrup. Perrrrfecto.

But the real heavy lifting during naps was this guy.  AAAAAAA!!!  You guys.  Just wait.  Just.  Wait.

P and I spent the rest of V’s nap time looking at cookbooks.  He notices the bacon dishes first.  He also likes it when I read recipes to him.  It’s a dream come true for me, really.

I lured the kids into trying this recipe because of the pickled peppers.  Thanks Peter Piper!  I mean, Kyle certainly wasn’t going to eat anything pickled, and I was having a hard time convincing myself to make this dish for just me.  But having two extra mouths willing to give these pickled guys a try I decided I was going for it.

Yum!  I added chicken to give it more oomph, and then I gave the kids a deconstructed version.

I almost forgot the cheese!

Phew!

PS FODMAPs overload today and my gut was feeling it, but it was my birthday!!!!!  What can ya do right??

Facetiming 🙂

Ok, now let’s get to the real fun of the day.

GAHHHHH.

Can I please just keep posting pics of it?  Because it’s so beautiful!

Also, google knew it was my birthday.  No surprise there.  The internet knows all.  Google knows all.  I have no secrets.

We didn’t get around to watching any tv after hot tubbing and football but I did get to chat with my mom for a long time.

These are super rich btw, so I could barely barely finish the two pieces I cut for myself.

Looking forward to pouring over these new cookbooks!!!!  [The kindle isn’t new but the rest are]

Blue Note Birthday

What a day, what a day.

It was still dark out when I drove to stroller strides’ but the Sunday “boost” classes are my favorite and so I treated myself to this super hard workout with my fellow mamas to get the day off on the best foot possible.  It was cold out too, but by the end of the warm up I was stripping off my jacket.  You guys.  We did tuck jumps, sumo jacks, burpees, plank jacks – 12 of each, then 10, 8, 6, etc. – as the series BETWEEN the actual sets.  Da fuuuuu?!?  I loved it, of course, because I’m a glutton for punishment.  Ahhhhh…then I got my birthday treat from sbux on the way home.

I had the last slice of the zucchini quickbread and some leftover pancakes with cashew butter.  And because I was a little late in feeding the kids and thus showering and getting ready, we were a little late to church.  No pasa nada.  P stayed with me for the sermon instead of going to Sunday School just because.  We both enjoyed it.  And then came home to football and family time.

Uh.  These are dangerous.  Lunch revolved around a way to get them in my face.  Enter kale.  I got two of these huuuuuge organic bags at WF and they are a nice change up from the TJs dino kale that I get the rest of the time.

The dressing is from this recipe – I made it again because I liked it so much the first time I made it.  It’s an unexpected combo of tahini and lemon that works so well together.

Add avocado, carrots, and salty sweet sesame roasted almonds and you have a party of flavors.

And then I ate a bunch of extra almonds afterwards because they are craaaaazy good.

That afternoon we went to Blue Note Brewery in Woodland for a birthday party with my friends.

It is SUCH a cool space and I can envision us returning often, since it has live music and food trucks every Sunday from 3-6.  There’s a big indoor area with picnic benches all over, as well as an outdoor seating space.  All feeling very casual and family friendly.

I tried one of their pale ale’s, hopamine, and liked it a lot.

The kids danced and played around, and the adults hung out and drank and it was really perfect.

We didn’t end up staying to eat from the food truck, because I didn’t know what the food truck was going to be and had already ordered sushi to pick up on the way home.  In the future though, the food trucks seem pretty legit, so I’d be inclined to give it a go since P can eat out these days.  I think they rotate, so you never know for sure which truck will be there until the day of (or at least a few days before) but the one that was there on Sunday, Street Cravings, was veg friendly (tofu tacos) and GF friendly as well.

Kyle brought cupcakes 🙂

Check out what some of my sweet friends gave me 🙂 🙂 🙂

TCHO bars and home-made (from scratch) fudge (!!).  It’s like they know me or something… 😉

P and V are now full on sushi lovers and I couldn’t be more proud!!  We all feasted hard core.  Kyle and I were both too stuffed from the afternoon of beers to have dessert, but that’s a-ok because my ACTUAL birthday is on Monday.  These celebrations are never ending and I am not hating it one bit!

The pants arrived!

After getting up on and off throughout the night, I wasn’t exactly super motivated to work out, but I sucked it up and went on a reallllllly slow run.  My gut was feeling better after the previous day’s eats (it was doing all kinds of weird stuff – worse than it has been in a long time – when I went to bed the previous night, but I woke up feeling alright again).

I fed the kids right away and then went to shower before making my own “pancakes”.  I was working with what I had because obviously my mom’s pantry isn’t quite like mine, but I got the job done.

I forgot baking soda for the first two (oops!) but then added some to the batter after that.  It was an interesting experiment…that kept getting bigger and bigger because I was tweaking it as I went…but in the end it was ok since I ended up taking the extra pancakes home.

We went to my parents’ WF before heading back to Davis because I needed some speciality items.  For birthday treats!

Lunch salad du jour had kale massaged with balsamic vinaigrette, candied pecans (dangerous), avo, and sheep’s milk cheese.  The pecorino romano was a little weird with the salad, but I didn’t have a feta or goat cheese, and I really really wanted a salty cheese, so I just put that one on and said whatever.  My taste buds didn’t really complain.

These are the pants!!  They arrived on Friday and guys…I think they are exactly what I was expecting.  Here are the main points you need to know.  A.  They are super poor quality.  B.  They took a month to arrive because they came from China (per the package).  C.  They fit me shockingly well.  So I guess this is a win?  If they get more than one use after their first wash I will be shocked, but then again, I did pay less than $20 for them sooooo….you get what you pay for!?

After naps we went grocery shopping and I couldn’t bring myself to buy the TJs honey sesame covered nuts that I was lusting over, so I decided to attempt to make my own when we got home.  Mine turned out fine (highly addictive), but their appearance is nothing like the TJs ones so I have no idea if they are a very good copycat.  Either way, they don’t have butter in them, which the Trader Joe’s ones do.

Kyle went out to dinner and a concert with a friend, so I was on my own for dinner.  I did another Instant Pot whole chicken for the week’s meals, but used some right away in my own Caesar salad.

The kiddos had the same thing deconstructed (no dressing but a ton of nooch, per their request).

I finally found this tessamae’s Caesar dressing again, but it was at my parent’s WF, so it looks like I’ll be adding that to my OIT shopping list (along with my other WF staples, like organic decaf coffee, bulk organic flour, and whatever else).

MMMMM.  All. the. dressing.

Oh!  And all the nooch.

The kids love nooch hard, too.

Pie time!

It’s hard to tell the size of this bad boy, but it was huge.  My parents were crazy generous and let me take home the rest of my birthday pie!!

Check out that yummy chocolate ooey gooey filling!  Dannng.

Sickness season

I’ve been holding my breath all week as my friends’ kids get sick, one after the other, but there’s only so much you can do to avoid it.  And OF COURSE it hits P right before OIT.  That’s the only reason I care.  He can’t updose if his immune system is under stress so when he began coughing Thursday evening and then was up coughing on and off until waking up for good between 4 and 5 am on Friday I was really nervous that we wouldn’t get very far at our appointment.  It’s hard not to be frustrated when we have slowed down to every other week appointments and then we can’t accomplish much during the time we go.  It’s also a long trek so I want to make it worthwhile!  Anyway, after making breakfast for P, I grabbed some weights and started a Nike+ workout.  It was 6:30 so I definitely had plenty of time, but before I knew it, V was up and calling for me.  So my workout wasn’t super focused. After getting her squared away with some books, I returned to my “workout” and tried to at least get something done while P finished eating.  It was so dark out, it felt weird to be up, and yet, they were so wide awake and happy to be playing with each other.  I showered while they continued to play in the bedroom and then made myself a smoothie before loading up the car.

I brought vega proteins & greens vanilla protein powder from home and added it to kale, cauliflower (first time!!), bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and water.  This was my first time adding cauliflower to a smoothie, but it’s all the rage right now.  I used a tiny bit of raw cauli and didn’t taste a thing, obviously, so I’m inclined to try more.  Perhaps frozen steamed cauliflower next time?  I bet frozen florets would give a cool texture, similar to the way frozen bananas do.

Venti!  I quit starbucks in Davis, but the Lafayette store is great and never mess up my drink so it’s my twice a month treat.

We did three updoses but he was coughing too much to risk any more.  He is now at 0.2 grams of peanut.  I was in a grumpy mood from the lack of sleep the night before and bummed that we couldn’t do more, but now that I have the gift of time, I can see that obviously that was the right call.  He was acting moody throughout the appointment, which is his sick personality, so I was trying to remind myself of that, but blah.  Whatever.  His cold was getting worse and worse by the minute and adding peanuts to that doesn’t help.  So we went home.  No Whole Foods 🙁  That was also contributing to my grump status.

I made tuna salad when I got home with vegenaise (nom nom nom) and carrots, avocado and chips on the side.  My stomach was all kinds of bonkers after and that was probably half way due to the knots I got it into from being anxious all morning about the what-ifs of dosing with a cold.  Stress and the gut, man.  After a couple of hours I went to the store with my sister to get a kombucha which totally soothed my stomach.  Phew.

I liked spending the rest of the day with my family.  They made me feel special.

My birthday meal request to my mom – flank steak, salmon, and kale salad.

And roscato!

No complaints from the littles, obviously, since there was steak involved.

And chocolate pecan pie!

This is Marie, Kyle and my favorite dessert my mom makes.

And it’s hard not to eat the whole pie “by my own self” <–Valley-ism.

Hi Milo.

Cliffs notes version of the night: LONG

More detailed description of the night: P was coughing and waking up every 5 minutes.  Since we were sharing a room with him, that meant we were all up all night.  Kyle went in the bed with him to soothe him around 11 pm, and I think I dozed off for a bit but then V on the monitor woke me around midnight.  She was telling me she had to go to the bathroom but then when I went in there she had had an accident…confused I took her to the toilet and she had mega GI issues.  I was so proud of her for waking up and going!! I changed her clothes and her sheets and tucked her back in and went back to bed.  But then when it happened a little bit later I was wondering if we were going to be up all night with diarrhea too.  Fortunately, the answer was no.

But she was up at 6. EEeeekk.

Weekend birthday deets to come….