Hungry Hungry Hippie

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Grazey day

After our awesome start to the weekend I felt pretty tired and lazed the rest of Saturday away in sweats.  It was pretty great to be honest.  I don’t usually let myself do that kind of thing (always trying to be hyper productive on the weekends when I have extra eyes on the kids), but I was really zapped of all my energy and gave myself the grace to just be.

This lunch rocked my socks.  Like, ROCKED.  I want to make it again asap.  First I massaged both curly and dino kale in Nugget’s Thai sesame dressing.  Then I added sliced chicken tenders.  And half an avo.  And lots of carrots.  And then more dressing.  NOMNOMNOMNOM.

Thanks to the (heavily) breaded chicken nuggets, I was 100% satisfied.  Yes guys.  I finally finally gave my body enough carbs to feel satisfied for longer than two hours after lunch.  Carbs for the win.  🙂

Now the question is…do I add chicken tenders to my grocery list to make this again??  [They were leftovers from last weekend’s splurge in the prepared foods section of Nugget, but it was a pricey and not super healthy treat that I hadn’t planned on repeating]  I’m going to say yes.

I did MAAAAJOR prep while crafting and coloring was going down.  It was meant to be a jellyfish craft, but he decided to make it a bug, sooo BUG IT IS.  Do you know how many crafts a package of paper plates can provide?  All of them.  All of the crafts. But this is not that kind of blog.  Back to the eats.

Prepping evidence (clockwise): lentils marinated in a dijon red wine vinaigrette, toasted almonds, quinoa, roasted Brussels sprouts.

And since the oven was on, I just continued…

Roasting zucchini, salmon, and a few more veggies.

This is what we had for dinner, which I’ll post in detail later.

I pulled part of this dessert platter from the freezer – I actually prefer to eat the raw brownies frozen.

They have walnuts, dates, chia seeds, cocoa powder, and coconut.  I made a big batch to store the freezer a while ago but only have a few left.  I will definitely make more once they are gone.

I went for a bike ride Sunday morning and then felt like a indulgent breakfast so I hit up the freezer for something yummy…

And came up with this beauty!

It’s from Mariposa Baking Company (in the Ferry Building) which is a gluten free (allergy free) bakery.  I bought a bunch of stuff when I was there a while back to take home and freeze…and now I finally got to enjoy the fruits of my hoarding.

Ohhhh yeahhhhh.  I added mixed nut butter, because why not?

It was delish – not too dry but not gooey either, with a nice soft crumb and notes of almond extract above all else.

I didn’t get back home until after noon and I was SOOOO exhausted.  Birthday parties take everything out of me.  And this was a party with tons of my besties…and still I came home more than ready to unload the kids onto Kyle.  Well, not really.  They were already fed, so once they had time to unwind it was nap time (for V) / quiet time (for P) / football time (for K&E).

This beauty (cold coffee, ice, coconut milk, and chocolate almond milk) made me feel human again. You see that foam from the coconut???  Best. Part. Ever.

This was an impulse buy from Costco, but was pretty decently priced and I think I would go for it again.  Thus far I’ve only tried the tipsy goat, but it was good.

First snack plate of the afternoon. [I had two – the second had Lundberg chips and more cheese]

Dinner was leftovers in the form of black bean pasta, roasted veggies, and a variety of cheeses.

The kids’ pasta had different veggies but I gave them mozzarella at the end of the meal (P prefers cheese for his dairy dose, but I mainly do milk so getting cheese is a treat).

Kyle’s was a Mexi themed bowl and had some of the roasted tomatoes and tomato oil plus cotija cheese.

Sometimes you just want a heaping pile of veggies amiright???  In all honesty, I wasn’t that hungry because we ate dinner on the early side (Kyle had to be somewhere) so I just planned on having an extra big dessert instead.

Such a huge sacrifice.  Not.

This was my first plate.  And then I finally got the kids in bed and enjoyed my second serving (the rest of the Bissinger bar) while watching football.

Dark chocolate covered walnuts may be the best thing at the Nugget bulk bins ever.  Although that’s coming from someone who’s fave nut is the walnuts, soooo, it makes sense.  P is with me.  He asked for walnuts as his snack at school again (he actually asked for grapes, walnuts, and carrots to be 100% accurate – he is basically the most amazing kid ever).

And that, mis amigos, is what it looks like when you graze your day away.  Not mad about it.  Bring it, Monday.

Food and fund raisers

I could pretend this frothy iced java was purposeful, but the truth is that I got distracted and my coffee got cold and then by the time I came back to it I was ready for a colder bevy.  So I added ice and blended it and voila!  Coconut milk tastes better blended into a cold drink in my opinion.  Actually it tastes the same, but the texture is better when it is blended because when it’s hot it form oil slicks on the surface.  I don’t generally have a problem with this, but I’m not that picky about how I get coffee into my face as long as it involves LOTS of plant milk and sometimes stevia.  Also, I keep a spoon in my mug at all times to re-stir it before every sip because I’m used to the milk separating at times.  Better that than weird additives yes?

You’d think I’d learn by now but I still didn’t remember to add enough carbs to this lunch salad and so I wound up eating one million and fifty five thousand more candied walnuts after the bowl was gone.  Ok, I’m announcing here and now so I am accountable: add more carbs!  I need to roast some sweet potatoes or squash or make crackers or SOMETHING.  Geez.  I keep saying this and not doing anything about it.  Am I expecting different results despite not making any changes????  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  [see definition of insanity]

This salad was a tweak on the Greek chicken salad I have been making quite a bit lately (which means Kyle was out of town).

The only thing . changed was I added lettuce (in the form of arugula, pea shoots, spinach, and some other goodies).

I also tried a new feta (because TJs was STILLLLL out of the Pastures of Eden feta).

I got this at the co-op.  It intrigued me that it was made from both goat and sheep cheese.  I think it’s a bit more firm than some of the other feta I’ve had recently, but it was just as salty and delish as ever.

We ate a bit earlier than usual because I was tired and wanted to start the night’s wind down asap (solo parenting prerogative) but then we ended up having a dance party in the kitchen while I made a massive batch of pancakes.  Sometimes I make contradictory decisions.  The kids were stoked though because they’ve gone without pancakes for a realllly long time.  The thing is, ever since school started I haven’t found the time to squeeze in an AM pancake-athon because school starts so early.  Making them at night (in bulk no less) means they now have pancakes for at least 4-5 breakfasts.

Which makes mornings go extra fast.  And that’s good news for everyone.

Check out these awesome sleeping positions.

Every night I check on them before bed is a surprise.

I’m so happy to be picnicking after school gets out on Wednesdays again.  It was one of the best parts about P’s school last year, and now that V is there we get to continue the tradition.  🙂

I just realized I finished the Green Valley organic lactose free cream cheese and didn’t add it to the grocery list.  Boo.

You know the best part about having kids overlap at school?  Grocery shopping without them.  Ok that’s a lie.  That’s definitely not the BEST part, but it’s a darn good one.

Afternoon snack attack!  I got these on sale at Safeway a while back and they are pretty good.

I wasn’t expecting to spend an hour and a half keeping V entertained throughout P’s choir practice, but that’s the curveball I got and thank goodness I had the Moana soundtrack and water wow book.

Oh man.  This post is all over the place.

This dinner was another gnocchi winner.

The adult version had arugula, shrimp, walnuts, and the last of the Cibo organic sun dried tomato pesto.

The kid version had spinach instead of arugula and no pesto.

The cauli gnocchi is SO GOOD.  I don’t regret my hoarders style decision to buy 15 bags at once because I’m going through them so fast.  The kids haven’t even mentioned the difference either (I typically give them half and half).

I don’t have many other photos of the week, but we did go to Sudwerk Brewery for a family night out (that I planned) with my stroller strides crew.  The turn out was insane and by 7 pm it felt like all of Davis was there.

They had live music and a food truck and a ton of beer on tap.  The kids were running around like wild animals for most of the night with all their friends and I’m pretty sure we will do it again soon because of how fun it was.

I got four tacos to start (two carnitas/two chicken), but then ended up getting two more (fish) tacos once I realized they were pretty small.

We stayed out past the kids bedtime, but not too late, because the next morning was a special family stroller strides class (with all the same people!).  There aren’t usually Saturday classes, but this was a fund raiser for our friends who are adopting a girl from China.  It felt awesome to help them out (bonus! we got in a workout as a foursome!).

I love when Kyle gets to come to stroller strides classes (as does he), and this was especially awesome because it was for a good cause.  Started the weekend off in the best way.


Burgers in a smoky room

Let’s just be honest about this right up front…my breakfast was actually a dessert.  Just want to be clear.  😛   [They are leftover peanut butter and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies from our first MOPS meeting of the year and they were GOOOOOOOOD].

I had approximately 65 carrots while making lunch because I was sooo hungry.

Ever since the kids started school I’ve been doing longer workouts and my appetite hasn’t caught up.  I have always eaten lunch after the kids are done with theirs and all squared away with quiet time (or naps) because I like eating in peace.  Lunch is my one shot for that because breakfast is usually eaten in haste standing over the counter and dinner is eaten as a family and I’m constantly getting up every 4 seconds to get something for someone or clean something or who knows what.  But lunch is MY meal.  That said, it’s been harder to wait as long as is required to eat in aforementioned peace because I am super starving by 1 pm.  Hence the baby carrot overload.  They are my holding pattern snack.  And sometimes it goes on forever and ever.

But eventually I get to sit and dig into this!

Kale massaged in a balsamic vinaigrette, with half an avo, smoked salmon, and fresh figs.

Fig season is coming to a close so I splurged on a pound of them on my last grocery run.

Some nuts probably would have been good on this (like candied walnuts) but I am trying to take a break for a hot second after eating 10000 calories worth of them earlier in the week.  Oops.  Like I said, ravenous Elise mode.

Almost burnt the house down grilling these inside!

Kyle was supposed to BBQ them but then got caught up and couldn’t make it home so I just decided to do it inside.  I thought turning the hood on the stove would be enough but I still ended up with a smokey downstairs and ended up having to open all the windows and doors so as not to set the smoke alarms off.

I went outside to pick tomatoes after putting the burgers on (not thinking it would be an issue because surely they’d take a while before I needed to flip them or anything) but then we had wayyyyyy more tomatoes than I realized and so I was outside picking for a while.  Which is why I walked back inside to a very smokey situation.


Anyway, it was all fine aside from the house heating up an extra 5 degrees because I had to open every outdoor access.


This meal was a special request and since the kids are so easy going with whatever I make, if/when they voice an opinion on wanting something specific I’m eager to make it happen.

I had both gf and wheat buns in the freezer as well as ground beef, so all I needed to buy was toppings…oh wait, no I don’t!  The tomato was from the garden and then I just grabbed whatever lettuce and cheese we had on hand (because we always have something in those categories!).

As well as an assortment of condiments.

Here’s how the condiments went down:

Elise – Sir Kensington’s special sauce
Kyle – vegan mayo + BBQ sauce
P – vegan mayo
V – vegan mayo + BBQ sauce

Ever heard of nuco?  They have a bunch of coconut based products, which I first learned about back when I ordered stuff from Thrive Market. I got their coconut wraps as a promotional deal once, which were ok.  I think I got this vegan mayo for free too now that I think about it, but I can’t recall since it’s obviously been in the party for a while now.  Anyway, it’s coconut and avocado based and (as you can read) vegan, gluten free, soy free, non GMO and all that jazz…

It’s a little odd in the texture department (because of the coconut oil??), but Kyle and the kids all liked it.  It almost acts like it has gelatin in it even though you can read the ingreds and see it doesn’t.  It’s kinda cool that it has pea protein too, although I supposed egg and soy would still offer a higher amount.

The GF bun was pretty meh, but I don’t know if that’s on account of being from the freezer or not.  I can’t recall the brand, but it was tapioca based, and tasted like pure starch.  Not in a good way.  I’d rather eat no bun and reserve my sugar intake for dessert…

This time I did both.

The barnana bites never made it to the plate.  😛

Roasted sweet potato choose your own adventure

I roasted a sheet pan of sweet potatoes and now I’m going to show you a couple of ways to use them.  Ready?

I know it looks a bot crowded in this pan, but it worked out.

Yum!  It’s not quite feeling like Fall here thanks to the 90 degree weather, but I felt like roasted veggies and a plant based meal…soooo sweet potatoes for the win.

Organic girl greens are my (kinda expensive) new obsession.  I keep alternating between this mix (protein greens) and the super greens.  I like that they are different than the usual blends…with greens like tat soi and sweet pea leaves, etc.  Oh, and the baby spinach and arugula is the other mix I’ve been buying a lot lately.  There’s one called rebel greens which says “no kale, not sorry” on the package, which made me smirk as I was shopping.  I love kale, obviously, but found the branding humorous nonetheless.

Building a bowl…start with greens, then add a grain (in this case I went with barley)…

Next add (more!!) veggies…like roasted sweet potatoes.  Roasted squash would be awesome here too.  I also added the leftover sautéed chard from the other day.

Time for finishing touches!  Almonds, avo, and a sauce.  The sauce is where you can really take this any direction.  It’s like a choose your own adventure recipe.  In this case I went with a orange soy miso sauce.

Here’s how I made the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 2 tbsp hot water

Whisk together until miso is mixed up.  Add water as needed, depending on your preference for thickness.

Orange veggie grain bowl [serves 4]


  • 4 cups lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cups barley (swap quinoa to make GF)
  • 3-4 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cups roasted almonds
  • 2 avocados
  • orange soy miso sauce (see recipe above)


Cook the barley (or whatever grain you are using) per package instructions.

To roast the sweet potatoes, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Dice potatoes and toss in olive oil and salt and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Combine lettuce, barley, and sweet potatoes and toss in sauce.  Add nuts and avo and serve.

Make sure to reserve extra sweet potatoes for another meal…liiiiike…

This guy!

A different sauce and a different nut and it was suddenly completely new.

Instead of the orange soy miso sauce, I swapped in olive oil and balsamic glaze.  I was heavy handed tossing the greens in oil because I didn’t have any grains, so I wanted to make sure there was enough calories.  A heavy handed pour of roasted pecans helped with that too (which I used in place of almonds in this version).

And now I’m well on my way to turning orange per my usual Fall dietary shift.  Beta carotene for life!

Football is off to a tough start

I did a decent amount of prep this weekend but nothing like last weekend.  I have found that if I go big once every month or so, the rest of the weekends don’t have to be as intense.  The whole chicken from last weekend lasted me all week – mainly in lunches for the kids and Kyle.  This weekend I made chili.  The kids (and Kyle) loved the black bean quinoa chili I made before so I basically made the same thing again.  This time I swapped in Lightlife vegan gimme lean ‘ground beef’ for the ground beef.  It’s such a simple thing to make thanks to the instant pot.

I sautéed shallots with garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaves, before adding in the lightlife “meat” crumbles.

Then I added water and black beans and cooked it for 11 minutes.

After pressure released naturally I added canned tomatoes and quinoa and cooked it for another 11 minutes.

Smelled like heaven throughout the cooking process, so hopefully they all like it.  I bought this lid for the IP so that I can put it directly into the fridge (in the same pot it cooked in).  Makes re-heating super easy.

Anyway, if you haven’t gotten your hands on an instant pot by now, you could make it on the stove, but it will take much longer.  All in, the process took under an hour and 90% of that time was hands off.  The other 10% was just me dumping stuff in!  SO EASY.

Ok, moving on.

I made carrot cinnamon raisin bread for the first MOPS meeting of the year.  I have a few different leadership roles, so I will be out Sunday and Monday night, and knew I needed to get as much done before the start of the week to help with those first couple of days. After that, I’ll have a little breathing room (FINALLY) and time to get my ducks in a row while the kids are in school in the mornings.

The carrot puree I used was from the carrots I boiled from the garden a while back. I cooked and pureed them and then put them in a jar in the freezer to use later.  Once again I made the recipe gluten and dairy free to accommodate the people with food sensitivities and allergies.  If I don’t do it, I’m not sure who will…

What else happened this weekend?  Hmmm…

Kyle and I did our usual Saturday morning run/tennis/starbucks routine with the kids in the double stroller.  I packed them breakfast for the road so they were busy the whole time and didn’t mind that we were taking our sweet time.  It was a lovely slow morning, which I needed very badly after a busy week.  I feel a bit oversubscribed at the moment, which is entirely my own doing, but I will still be glad when we settle into the rhythm of the school year and all the meetings slow down.

I had a strawberry banana smoothie once we got home, which I made with the coconut meat from the young fresh coconut that my friend gave me last week.  I topped it with some granola too.  Mmmmmm.

Such a pretty color!   I was a bottomless pit all day, which I think is because I didn’t eat enough the day before.  That’s usually what seems to be the case whenever I have these ravenous kinds of days.

This was the previous day’s lunch…

And this was dinner…

Cabbage leftovers which I jazzed up with cucumbers and cilantro and extra almonds.

Followed by a night out with some girl friends.

Even though breakfast isn’t shown (I had TWO coffees with chocolate almond milk and granola), I can still tell it was probably not enough food, especially considering I exercised a bit more than normal (running P to and from school drop off and then stroller strides afterwards).  So I guess that did it.  I was also out late so maybe it was that too…I rarely drink these days.

The rest of the day was so chill.  The kids made sushi for lunch.  We watched UCLA get destroyed and then Kyle BBQed steaks for dinner.

I made a cauli gratin kind of dish.

For the sauce I used: 14 oz Nasoya extra firm tofu, 1 cup raw cashews, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tbsp tamari, 2 cups water.

Pulsed everything in the blender until it was smoooooooth and creamy.

Then I poured it over a head of chopped cauliflower…added a bit of salt and pepper on top…

And baked it for 45 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees F.


Look at these steaks!!!

We got a 4 pack of NY steaks at Costco so he just grilled them all.

The kids split one and then I froze the fourth for a rainy day.

He did a PERFECT job on them.

And the cauli was an excellent side.

These kids are so spoiled they have no idea.

I had dessert that night too (because like I said, my appetite was beastly from morning to night).

The Green & Black ginger dark chocolate tastes darker than the 60% cacao content that it is.  Maybe because it was paired with white chocolate which is basically milk and sugar.  Not complaining!!

My sister and Chris came over the next day to hang out and watch football after church and we went crazy at the Nugget prepared foods section for lunch.

So much so that we ended up having the same thing that was leftover for dinner.

The chicken nuggets are so salty and addictive.

Once everyone’s lunches were prepped I headed back to church for a meeting so Kyle got to do the whole bedtime routine solo.  Fun fun fun for him!

Both UCLA and the 49ers (and my fantasy team) lost this weekend.  And Aaron got injured.  Tough start to the football season.  🙁