Hungry Hungry Hippie

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Simple pasta, simple salad

I used to be so good at meal planning, but lately it seems like I’m so disorganized. I hate to blame it on the CSA, but when I really look at the timeline of when our (my) shopping habits went downhill, it kinda lines up.

It makes sense, though, because I get a massive haul of veggies on Monday afternoons so I can’t do much in the way of meal planning on the weekend like I used to…and by Tuesday I’m knee deep in the week and so if and when I finally do get a grocery list together, it’s Wednesday and then I’m just trying to get by until the weekend. Add to that, the fact that Kyle’s been gone a bunch (he’s gone this whole week), and you get a perfect storm that ends up in zero planning.

So basically this is me giving myself a pep talk to get back to meal planning.

I don’t even want to reveal how long these been in the pantry. It was time.

Any time I get to use the pasta faucet I feel fancy.

I cooked two (8 oz) boxes of pasta, which went far faster than I thought it would…so fast, in fact, that I lost track of time which resulted in mushy overcooked noodles. Oops. The pagodas broke down into who knows what shapes. I was definitely feeling like a failure, but texture aside, it ended up alright. Note to self: Ancient Harvest corn and quinoa past cooks way faster than traditional pasta!

I chopped up a bunch of rainbow chard to fold into the hot pasta, which wilted it a bit.

I also tossed it in a lemon vinaigrette, which was 1/4cup olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.

Topped with sunflower seeds and then feta to serve.


On the side I made a simple salad with balsamic vinaigrette, dried cranberries and roasted pecans.

The kids and Kyle were super into this, but I was too fixated on the overcooked pasta. Luckily it made enough for lots of leftovers so the kids had a couple days of lunches done before I even started the week. That is a victory worth celebrating for sure.

By day three, I had to reinvent it a bit, so I added white beans and nooch. They were all for it. Sometimes simple is a ok.

Easy hippie bowl

This meal was born out of sheer laziness. I had no meal plan and no motivation to go to the store. I put those creative juices to work andddd…

Came up with a quinoa hippie bowl.

It’s hard to tell what exactly I roasted, but there were a few kinds of carrots, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, and yukon gold potatoes.

And then it all came together with a pistachio pine nut pesto.

On the left, is the pesto the way I keep it in the freezer.

On the right, is how it looks after I add water and olive oil.

The reason I do this is for space. It’s much easier to store a crap ton of pesto as ground up basil and nuts and then add liquid later, especially when you hit the jackpot on basil all summer long.

We haven’t bought pesto all year. Or marinara. Or jam. I’m getting to be quite the hoarder with summer produce! But if it gets us by all year, then I’d say I’m doing it right.

Optional cheese topping šŸ™‚

Calcium in food

I know a lot about nutrition, but I’m not a nutritionist. I also know a lot about health and wellness, but I’m not a doctor. But you know what I am? A responsible mom who believes in real food. Oh, and a nurse.

And yet somehow I forgot all of that at Valley’s four year old well child visit last month.

What’s with the self doubt?? I think it mainly has to do with the fact that people (myself included) see MDs as figures of authority. That’s an appropriate view most of the time, but doctors don’t always know all that much about nutrition. Some might, due to personal interest, but it’s definitely not a major part of their training. And so when V’s pediatrician drilled me a bit after I said she doesn’t consume cow’s milk on a regular basis, I was caught off guard…

Do you know how much calcium my kids get on a daily basis? PLENTY.

Did you know that the recommended calcium requirements for children are ~800 mg/day. Pediatricians suggest this is accomplished by having three servings of dairy a day (but let’s be real, it’s not the pediatricians who are recommending this, it’s the federally regulated governing body that is likely backed by big dairy).

THREE 8 oz glasses of milk (or cheese or yogurt) EVERY day?!?! That’s literally the main option you will read about almost anywhere you look. WTF America?!?! Now, I know my kiddo’s MD is awesome, so this isn’t on her. When I pushed back a bit and told her my kids eat heaps of greens – kale, bok choy, collards, chard, broccoli, etc – she looked skeptical, but admitted she wasn’t too sure of the amounts of calcium those had in them.

So we looked it up. And guess what.

There are SO MANY WAYS to get 800 mg of calcium that don’t involve dairy.

One serving of tofu can meet 70-80% of your recommended daily intake alone!

Edamame, white beans, and lentils are also good sources of calcium.

Also, the cruciferous family is PACKED with calcium…so all the broccoli and Brussels sprouts…all those collard wraps…all those tofu and bok choy stir fries…it’s helping them hit their daily goals no prob.

We can thank the UC Davis student farm CSA for the endless supply of dark leafy greens coming into our home!

Also sweet potatoes and seeds!

Meaning a salad with roasted sweet potatoes and tahini dressing and sunflower seeds would probably help do the trick… šŸ˜‰

I wish I’d been as confident in the moment as I am being here, because I KNOW this stuff…so by writing it out here, I’m hoping you will recognize if you do this as well when confronted by others who you may deem “authorities” in a given field.

Later on, I’ll post a recipe for the quinoa pasta with chard, white beans, and sunflower seeds below. Triple threat!

The best thing to come out of the whole interaction though, was the fact that our MD learned something that she will likely apply to her own practice going forward.

Aren’t we all just trying to learn? Let’s hope we are never too old or stubborn to receive knowledge. New evidence based research is always coming out, though, so you definitely have to be proactive to keep up!!

And now since we are on the subject of lentils…how about I give you the deets for this taco salad?

I actually wanted to make “meat” out of crumbled tempeh, but the store was all out of tempeh and I didn’t have time to go to another store. I was annoyed, but figured I’d make it work at home. Which is why I turned to lentils! I cooked them in the instant pot with Mexican spices while prepping the rest of the stuff.

And since I knew Kyle was going to need lunch the next day, I just packed up his lunch at the same time.

This guy had:

  • leaf lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • green onion
  • cilantro
  • pepitas
  • black olives
  • lime vinaigrette (see below)

For the lime vinaigrette, I whisked together: 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp dijon mustard, and 1/3 cup olive oil until the sugar was dissolved and the dressing had emulsified.

Other optional toppings include: avocado, cotija cheese (or a cashew crema to keep it vegan).

To tell you the truth, we’ve been doing a lot of vegan meals around here lately.

I didn’t realize it until I looked back at the photos, so it’s not purposeful, but it’s nice nonetheless to be focusing on filling our plates with plants.

Kyle grilled us some Beyond Meat burgers for the first time recently and I’m not sure the kids even noticed (if they did, they didn’t say anything).

I rarely buy faux meat products, but I had these in the freezer from a buy one get one free sale last month and Kyle was in the mood to grill, so…

I made a slaw on the side (you KNOW we had cabbage in that CSA) and served it with SK’s mayo, a tomato slice, and a Little Northern Bakehouse GF bun.

We were all really big fans, so while I’d prefer to make my own veggie burgers from whole foods – like nuts, beans and grains – this is a fantastic option if you’re short on time. Honestly, is there anything more labor intensive than a home made veggies burger?? No. There truly is not.

I’ve managed to solve that problem simply by taking everything I would form into a veggie patty, and serving it in a bowl.

Like this quinoa hippie bowl.

Chocolate break

My chocolate stash is FINALLY down to a more manageable size.

Meaning it can fit in the pantry in a decently organized way (it still takes up three shelves though, so let’s not kid ourselves).

Kyle was gone for a week and a girl’s gotta decompress somehow…

But here’s the deal. I kinda got over it. So I told Kyle when he got home that I wanted to take a break until Easter. It seemed a manageable goal…not too long, but still something that would be a bit of a challenge. And then I went to the fit4mom Summit and came home with these beauties from Lolli & Pops.

w o w

They gave the people with dietary restrictions vegan dark chocolate covered salted caramels because they wanted us to feel loved (rather than like nuisances). Isn’t that so thoughtful? I couldn’t NOT eat them!! So aside from that one little blip I’ve been chocolate free…going on day 5 now. It is not easy and I’m not even sure I will make it, but I’m trying to give my body a break from it’s 8 pm sugar dose that it has grown dependent on. Prettyyyyy sure that’s the definition of addiction.

And would’t you know it…I just got an email from Nugget saying their weekly “secret special” is none other than…

How do we think this is going to play out…

This may help.

This combo was: beets and their greens, kale stems, chard stems, collard stems, oranges, carrots, and ginger.

I was nervous it wouldn’t be sweet enough, but it was PERFECT.

And thanks to my hurom juicer, the pulp left behind is so minimal.

Nothing like a heaping pile of veggies to wash away the sugar you slam your blood stream with on a nightly basis.

All kidding aside though, I do think my balanced approach is completely healthy. My love for salads and green juice is 100% motivated by my taste buds.

Sensory bins and summits

Can you guess what I made for dinner based on this photo alone??

Obviously Kyle was out of town because of the cucumbers šŸ˜›

I’m so glad that tomatoes are making their way into our grocery cart again. Of course, by July we will likely have them coming out of our ears, but for now they are a novelty as the weather (finally) warms up.

There was actually supposed to be MORE rain forecasted for this week, but lucky for us it was all wrong and it’s been sunny. A little windy, but beggars can’t be choosers. It even made it into the 70s one day!!

This is the main reason my blog has been a touch neglected. I am soaking up alllll the outside time with my babes.

Also I have been fully immersed in my fit4mom duties, which is giving me so much joy.

I made this sensory bin for a kids craft after strides and they all loved it so much I decided to set it up in the water table once I brought it back home. I never thought the older ones would be as into it, but boy was I wrong. It was a HUGE hit. I’ll be doing a lot more sensory bins going forward…

Our coaching team went to a Summit last weekend, which was super fun and informative. We got to meet with a bunch of the other Nor Cal fit4mom franchises and chat about the mission of the brand and all the ways to improve how we reach moms. Plus, it was a blast to hang with my girlfriends…because let’s be real, that’s the main reason I wanted to become a coach anyway. This team is truly a dream to be a part of.

The only food photo I have from the weekend was from our Saturday night out at Zocalo. I got the salmon BOL, which had rice, sweet potatoes, pickled cabbage, baby kale, roasted carrots, and cilantro. The green sauce on top was a little spicy but otherwise it was GOOOOOD. I also stole a taco from another girl who was done with her plate. We arrived super late (because we went to an escape room beforehand) so I was starving. Hence, polishing off someone else’s food before placing my own order. šŸ˜›

That said, being in a conference room all weekend really makes you want to be outdoors as soon as possible, so that’s where I spent most of Sunday once I got back home. With my people. Hooray for shorts weather!!!

I finished off the Mary’s Gone seaweed crackers and opened up another kind of cracker. I found these Simple Mills ones at Grocery Outlet for SO CHEAP and went for it.

And for the record, I’d never heard of Grocery Outlet before, but guys, it is ONE HECK OF A HIDDEN GEM. And every single person I’ have told this to since has had the same OMG moment as well, but somehow never let me in on this secret! We even have a store in Davis! Like WHAT?! How is this so unknown, but also so known. Is it an underground thing?? Am I ruining it by blogging about it? Anyway. I’ve been back once more since and I’m still wrapping my head around it. Pretty sure it’s just crazy discounted because all the stuff is about to expire, so while I do feel bad for buying things in packages (sometimes with plastic), I’m consoling myself with the fact that it would probably get thrown away anyway, so the waste will happen either way, I might as well consume the food.

Moving on.

Salad game still going strong…and that’s all I’ve got for you!