Hungry Hungry Hippie

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Love Day

Picking up where I left off…

Is it just me (I tend to be a bit of a scrooge, so it may be) or has Valentine’s Day gotten completely out of hand for school kids?? Like what the what is going on here!? Both kids came home with elaborate goodie bags full of treats FROM EACH STUDENT. Uhhhh, excuse me?

Our Valentine’s were cards. Home made cards. They painted them the week before and then cut them out into heart shapes and decorated them with stickers and signed them. That’s it. I feel bad for the kids that got them and were disappointed to not receive a treat, which is horrible considering how much time/thought/effort/love went into them. I shouldn’t feel bad for having my kids make something nice. Since they both looooove crafts, I know they had fun doing it and I highly doubt the other kids even noticed, but in the future it may be a different story…what kind of sucks, right? I mean, the point is not to out-pinterest other parents, it’s to let the kids enjoy doing something thoughtful for their peers. Blahhhh. Parenting can be such a mind f*#%. Anyway, let’s just side step that little vent sesh and move on to the food.

In the bombardment of photos from Pattycakes’ birthday I forgot to show off my lunch from that day. And since it was epically delish, I knew I had to go back and highlight it.

First, I thawed two cornbread waffles leftover from this night. Next, I added several large schmears of cream cheese (Lactose Free Organic Valley is the best best best). Then, I added smoked salmon (the brand is Echo Falls for those who want to know).

If you thought a bagel with lox was the ultimate, let me just tell you, cornbread waffles with lox is BEYOND.

Happy 100th day of school!

Apparently this is now a thing that schools celebrate?! I never did this, but I had been seeing it all over others’ insta and then next thing I know the teacher is sending home a flyer telling us to decorate a shirt with 100 things. I really phoned it in here by getting him 100 animal stickers. Kyle and I each counted it out MANY times to see if he got exactly 100 on and we kept losing count so it may or may not be 100, but the point was made.

Meanwhile, I was throwing all my effort into a secret project for his birthday party.

This was hard core momming, you guys. And I’m definitely proud of how it turned out considering I had no clear vision when I started…

In case I haven’t mentioned it here on the blog, P is OBSESSED with Komodo dragons. He asked for one for Christmas, but for obvious reasons that didn’t happen. He loves learning about animal facts and listens to multiple podcasts about animals and spends hours and hours each week drawing different animals…needless to say, pin the tail on the donkey was not going to cut it for his party.

So, I decided to surprise him with a pin the birthday hat on the Komodo dragon game.

He was thrilled. It was so adorable. And my mama heart was so happy.

PS we now have a Komodo dragon (poster board) living in his room, so that’s nice.

Instead of cake, he wanted “dirt and worms” (something he discovered at camp the summer before which has stuck with him ever since). I was super pleased with this choice because it’s far easier than a cake.

I got the gummy worms from the bulk bins and found compostable paper cups to serve to the kids. Not perfect for a zero waste lifestyle by any means, but I’ve come to terms with my best being enough. Plus, zero waste chef recently posted this and it really resonated with me.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Rosé is red, gingerberry is blue…I love kombucha and chocolate more than you.

I know I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but V-Day is not my thing. I have never been super into it, and before I had kids I would often forget about it. My husband is more on top of it though.

Lunch time salad was basically a recreation of the one I was raving about here, with TJs sesame dressing, roasted veggies, and almonds on kale. It was just as good this time around.

I decided to let her skip her nap (which she fights most days anyway) because P’s birthday party started at 3…so OF COURSE she fell asleep at 2:30 in her chair.

His party was awesome, btw. But maybe a little too awesome because that night we found ourselves like this…

Making his way through a new LEGO set from grandma and bumpa while doing an albuterol treatment.

WHYYYYYYY?!?!

It’s such a bummer because I had thought he had managed to avoid getting Valley’s cold, but per usual, he went from 0 to 60 in the span of an evening. His asthma was seemingly much better thanks to OIT, but the rest of this week has been full of sleepless nights. I brought him into bed with us (me) for two nights in a row because I have PTSD from the last croup/pneumonia incident, so Kyle slept in the guest bedroom. At least this way I could be sure he was breathing and react with meds super quickly. I was definitely exhausted running on a couple of hours of sleep…BUT the silver lining is that P has been a trooper through it all. I’ve managed to get him to nap for a few days in a row, too, to make up for lost sleep in the night. The first night I think we only slept 2 hours in total, though. OOF. I’m not used to this phase of parenting anymore! I don’t have an infant! I’m not nursing on demand! The nebulizer really helps. It’s one of the only ways to get him to stop coughing. Poor buddy.

How good does this look!!

I didn’t start making dinner until late because of his party, so I used leftovers to make us Mexican bowls.

I had leftover ground beef and cashew “nacho cheese” from the Super Bowl, rice from our dinner the night before (which was SO INCREDIBLY RANDOM I may not even bother posting about it), and chili from my weekend prep. I added salsa, pepitas, cheese, and cilantro and TA DA dinner was served.

Oh and mine was served in a spaghetti squash boat. Because I had an extra half already roasted and just begging to be topped in ooey gooey sauce.

It was a LOT of squash though, so I ended up sharing a bunch with the kids. I’m a modern day cupid. 😉

And FYI, both of them completely forgot about their bags of Valentine’s loot as soon as they walked in the house. They sat untouched on the counter for a few days before I went through them (removing the ring pops and such) and they still haven’t even asked for them.

The start of six

Birthday week!

Mr. P had a MAJOR week with his birthday, Valentine’s Day, the 100th Day of school, his party, and visits with BOTH sets of grandparents! Lucky kid.

We went to my parents’ for a family celebration on Saturday.

Valley is OBSESSED with Brookie boo. She is 100% ready to be a mama (in her eyes)and talks about “when she’s an adult” and “when she’s a mama” 24/7.

I had chips for lunch. And some greens to pretend it was balanced. But really, it was about the chips.

And for dinner we had so much good stuff, including ribs, salmon, salad, and rice…followed by apple cobbler and vanilla ice cream.

The kids were too full for dessert, so we took their portion (and mine) home with us for the next day. It was a late night and a little brutal putting them down after our drive home in the POURING rain (I hate driving in the dark, but the torrential downpour made it so scary) especially considering V didn’t take a nap that day.

Still, it was nice to wake up in our own beds and get on with our Sunday routine the next day. Church, family time, etc.

Make wayyyyy, for all the greeeeeens. Did you sing that with the Aladdin song in mind? They are making it into a movie! Maybe I’ll see it…10 years from when it actually comes out…like every other contemporary thing that I miss out on. 😛

In order to make room for the new, I had to finish off the last of the previous week’s produce. That said, we were heading out to dinner that night so I didn’t have time to do much. Pressure cooker for the win! Set it and forget it (and leave the house)!

All I did was saute leeks, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil, then add home-made chicken stock with rice, lentils, and beans. And at the last minute I threw in some arugula rabe or “raab” which is a small bouquet of arugula flowers that I got in my CSA box last week and wasn’t sure what to do with. The kids had it twice for lunch and Kyle had it once and they all gave it all their thumbs up.

You would have thought I planned this but our MOPS field trip to the fire station just happened to be on the Monday holiday so the big kids who are normally in school got to go. We have a matching photo from 4 (5?) years ago minus the little sibs. Some friends came over afterwards and P got to open a birthday present. As if climbing in the engine wasn’t already enough of a highlight!

The day just kept getting better and better though!

As for that dinner out…

Kyle’s parents took us to a teppanyaki place in Woodland called Sakura and it was SO FUN. The kids loved the entertainment of watching the chef and picking whatever meat they wanted (they chose salmon and steak). I have to pinch myself sometimes that we can eat at places like this now…where they use butter and sesame and wheat and whatever on a shared grill and it’s totally safe for P. OIT game changer. He even ate the cake and ice cream dessert!

The next day was his actual birthday, which was great since it happened to fall on the day that I volunteer in his class at school. I got to watch them since to him (and since they were doing a segment on the lunar new year, they sang to him in both Spanish and Chinese).

My kid is SIX!

How many six year olds request steak and a salad for their birthday dinner??

This kid cracks me up. He thought about it for a while before deciding on this meal, too.

I grilled a skirt steak inside on the Lodge and used CSA leaf lettuce for the salad with balsamic dressing, chevre, apples, roasted pecans, and dried cranberries.

Room for dessert!! Of course!

The kids had chocolate milk as a treat after dinner (to make his dairy dose “special”).

And that was just the START of the week!!!

More to come 🙂

Trader Joe’s new dressings

Fancy dinner night!!

Remember that TJs toasted sesame dressing I mentioned before? Here’s the meal I made the first time I tried it.

I worked 1/3-1/2 the bottle into a ginormous head of cabbage during nap time so that it would soften and wilt down to a nice texture by dinner. I have been getting cabbage and bok choy every week in the CSA and I got a week behind with the cabbage, but playing catch up is easy when your whole family loooooves cabbage!

I splurged and bought us some nice chunks of salmon for dinner because why the hell not?!?! We go out to dinner all of never so whenever I start to feel guilty about the cost of the $$$ fish, I remind myself that that untapped restaurant budget can just be reallocated to the grocery budget in the moment.

I used some of the sesame dressing on the fish too. It’s going to be a new staple because it’s sooo delish. It reminds me of this sesame kewpie dressing. TJs probably copied it since that’s what they do. Good thing I have YOU dear readers looking out for me because I hardly go to TJs anymore and I may have missed this had it not been brought to my attention (thanks Junghwa!). They actually have three new dressings in total, including rosé vinaigrette and fig balsamic, but I stuck to the sesame and fig (for the time being). Sadly, the fig balsamic was not my favorite and (this may seem like a weird review but…) it’s too figgy for my liking. I tried it one day on my vegan Winter salad and I preferred the normal version I make (without the fig notes). Just sayin’. If you’ve tried the rosé dressing let me know if it’s worth it. They’re pretty cheap though, so the risk/reward ratio is not too stressful. And they are organic – hooray!

This Bissinger’s bar grew on me. At first, I was kinda thrown off by the pink peruvian salt + banana flavor. In reading the name of the bar, I thought the inside would be salted caramel (which would have been awesome because sweet and salty combos are usually my JAM), but it was actually a chocolate filling and trust me when I say it was weird.

A few bites in though and my palate just got used to it because by the end of the bar I didn’t mind it so much.

I wouldn’t buy it again though.

My new favorite dressing

PREP GAME STRONG.

Kyle and the kids voted for lemon poppyseed bread next.

Let’s see if this loaf lasts any longer than the banana bread I made last week.

I made THE most delish salad for lunch and I hope I can replicate it again because it was everything I’ve been craving lately and I already want it again.

It started with these leftover roasted veggies – butternut squash, rutabaga and turnips, and Brussels sprouts.

The other stellar part of this was Trader Joe’s new organic toasted sesame dressing. YOU GUYS. Get your hands on this asap because trust me when I say it’s addicting beyond belief.

Here it is in a photo from last week (a dinner I have yet to share).

It is sooooo good. I’ve already finished off this bottle and am going to have to make a detour to TJs sometime in the near future to replenish. It may even [gasp!] replace Nugget’s Thai dressing in my rotation.

I massaged the kale in the dressing, then topped it in veggies, salty almonds, and more dressing. Heaven.

I had a kinda indulgent dinner planned for the night…and then things got busy and suddenly I found myself 30 minutes out from dinner time without anything started! Oops.

Rather than wait for the oven to preheat I turned to the air fryer. This appliance hasn’t gotten as much love as it should on the blog, but that will probably change now that I’ve made breaded chicken in it with under 5 minutes of hands on time. WINNING!

I literally tossed chunks of chicken in a mix of gluten free bread crumbs, almond meal, and salt and then threw them in the air fryer. Like, actually threw them in. And they came out crispy and perfectly cooked through! Magic?!

Which meant I could devote the rest of my time to waffle making.

I used two batters because (a) I wanted different options and (b) I wanted leftovers to free for myself for later. Hashtag selfish. Hashtag carbs.

The first batch was made from a gluten free Bob’s Red Mill cornbread mix. Cornbread waffles, you say? YES, I say. Do it.

The second batch was made from Birch Blender’s paleo pancake/waffle mix, which I bought on a whim a looooong time ago and never did anything with. Shame on me for letting it sit in the pantry for so long because it was stellar.

I had one of each and because I couldn’t decide which I liked better, I had another half serving of each. And then, to prevent myself from eating 10 waffles at once, I put the rest away in the freezer.

Here is a zoomed out version to show you what a cluster our kitchen table looks like right now. Ugh. I get anxiety just looking at it now even though I know it’s already been cleaned up.

This may seem obvious, but this meal was a massive hit with all members.

Pink rice

I skipped grocery shopping the week that Kyle was gone because, let’s face it, the produce from our CSA is enough to carry us through the week when combined with our freezer and pantry staples. That said, I was suuuuper uninspired when it came time to make something at the end of the week. BUT. It was his first day back home so I knew he’d want something healthy and home-made. He always says he misses my cooking while he is traveling. I think he misses me too, but home made food is definitely a big factor 🙂

I really tried to dig deep (inside and in the crisper drawer) to come up with this meal…but in the end it was little Miss Valley who came up with our dinner!

First she said rice, and then she added in kale, and then she looked on the counter and saw all the lemons and decided on a lemon dressing. Uhhh YES girl!

I loved the idea, so I took it and ran with it, just adding in a few extras.

I mean how great is she??

It’s very similar to my fave WF prepared salad, which I replicated here.

I almost over toasted those nuts and seeds!! EEK. Close call. When will I learn not to multi task with nuts in the broiler!? WHEN?!

I added chevre to the adult portions.

And FYI, the reason the rice turned red was from this super fun purple kale that we’ve been getting from our weekly CSA haul.

Because I added the hot rice to the greens to wilt them down a bit, the vivid color of the Carinata kale bled into the grain. So fun. The kids liked it too.

I’m so happy the CSA is exposing me to new kinds of lettuce. As you all know, I heart kale the mostest, and have tried all the kinds I can find in the stores, but this is so different and new looking. It’s not as curly as the other kinds of kale (Russian, curly, etc.) and almost has a similar flavor to red cabbage, but unlike cabbage, it is soft and thin like dino kale.

So if you’re in the mood to dye your food a pretty pinkish hue and try something new, see if your farmer’s market has any in your area?