Experimenting in the Kitchen

I love finding new recipes. It’s not often we eat the same thing over and over because I genuinely like to find recipes and try new things. Life might be easier if I had a set menu I rotated through every week or so but that wouldn’t be much fun. Plus my kids would not get try new things with us.

I’ve been making my way through the recipes in my Oh She Glows cookbook. A lot of them are fairly simple and not necessarily adventurous. But this morning I served up muesli. I had never made muesli before and nobody had ever had it either. This recipe was a make the night before and have instant breakfast in the morning type recipe. Perfect for trying to get out of the house to make it to the zoo.

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There are oats, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, raisins, shredded and diced apple, and plain yogurt in this. The verdict? Amazing! I can’t believe something so easy could taste so good. It was sweet, chewy, and creamy all at once. Keeping this recipe for quick make ahead breakfasts or even lunches.

We went to the zoo for the first time this summer. Somehow we managed to see just about everything and enjoyed our leftovers from yesterday for lunch. Also miraculously I didn’t buy any treats or kettle corn from the zoo! Here’s my Iz enjoying our packed lunch in the beautiful sunshine. She was grateful that we went.

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Yesterday afternoon I made a batch of vanilla chia pudding. Originally it was going to be dessert for last night but it wasn’t ready. My loss is the girls’s snack time gain. They had strawberries and vanilla chia pudding for snack. I’ve made chocolate chia pudding in the past and Lexi was not a fan. This, however, they both devoured. I’m talking licked the bowls good.

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Also a recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook. I’m hoping to have some later with grilled nut granola. That is assuming I can still eat after grilled veggie and tofu kabobs for dinner:

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In this bowl we have corn, green peppers, onions, yellow squash, mushrooms, kale, and tofu topped with a little wasabi cashew cream sauce (adults only). Mmmmmm. Grilled veggies and tofu, delish!

Wasabi cream sauce is a new discovery to me. I bought some wasabi powder recently and have been on a wasabi kick. The Wheat Belly cookbook had a wasabi cream sauce recipe that I adapted to be vegan. See, adventures in the kitchen. All about trying new things. The same old, same old is not for me unless maybe you add a little wasabi. =)

Vacation is Over

What is about the day after vacation that is so hard? Oh wait, I know. It’s that nobody gets enough sleep and there are a million things to be cleaned and put away while you are attempting to continue doing the normal every day things and the kids decide they do not want to get along since we are at home. All this vacationing has left me worn out. Getting up for a run this morning was tough! And then making it through the day was still tough. But the day is almost over and we have all made it.

We took our time coming home yesterday and stopped to hang out in Ocean Shores for a bit. Over the weekend we never actually made it into the city. Instead, we stayed at the beach house and headed down to the beach from there (and took naps! The kids were up until 11 pm, yikes!). The house we get is literally on the beach trail and you can sit out on the deck or in the living room or in our bedroom and see the ocean. The weather was amazing, better than it’s ever been and we took full advantage by not wasting our time driving to the city.

The weekend was a lot of fun. Brian and I escaped for a short run one of the mornings, which we don’t get to do often enough. I loved seeing the beauty of the ocean and was in awe of the view and the weather God placed before me. It was truly a gift. We managed ok with our modified menu and taco night only claimed one tummy, Lexi’s. That was probably more due to the s’mores she had at the campfire later that night than the tacos but maybe the combo wasn’t so great for her.

By the time we arrived home yesterday I was exhausted. I was fighting sleep the entire drive home. It was such a sunny pretty drive that I didn’t want to miss out and sleep. In order to even function the rest of the night I had to fit in a short power yoga session to get my heart pumping.

Nobody was very hungry for dinner since we had big lunches and snacked on the drive. Plus, despite having leftovers in the fridge we couldn’t eat any more fish or burgers or rice or beans. While this dinner was not as quick as I would have liked it ended up being perfect.

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Broccoli and cauliflower, lentils, kale, tomatoes, and hummus bowls. This dinner was simple and had none of the things we had been eating all weekend long.

Brian got to take those leftovers for lunch today. The girls had a veggie plate with some leftover baked beans (they turned out delicious by the way!) and strawberries. We went to the store before lunch so our fridge is again stocked with an abundance of produce, thank goodness!

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I’ve eaten a lot of lettuce over the last few days and did not want another lettuce salad for dinner. Because it was hot and I was worn I knew I wanted fresh produce for dinner, just not lettuce heavy. I made something I found on Pinterest once called Living Pad Thai. I didn’t use a recipe just grabbed fresh food from the fridge and shredded it or chopped it small and mixed together. We topped with a homemade Thai peanut sauce (or homemade teriyaki for the girls), peanuts, and red chili flakes.

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All those veggies are filling! The Living Pad Thai has carrots, yellow squash, purple cabbage, broccoli, onions, and kale. The family raved about this meal, pretty much every bite. =) The best part is there was so much leftover we all get to eat this for lunch tomorrow. Works out great for me since I’m taking the girls to the zoo and that’s one less thing I have to pack.

Speaking of packed lunches, I’m starting to get very nervous about packing a lunch for both Isabelle and Brian on the daily once school begins again. It’s a lot of work for me. The girls will be attending a VBS next week where Isabelle will stay all day and need to bring a lunch so I guess I will get some practice and face my fears!

Speady Dinner and Friday Equals Cookies

Well, the girls had way too much fun at the birthday party. What that means is they both complained of stomaches before we left. When we got home I intended on making soup for me to eat and have leftovers to feed them for breakfast. Instead, Brian and I devoured Spiced Red Lentil Soup (Oh She Glows) with no leftovers. Oops! So I let the girls have oatmeal for breakfast and made a brothy soup for lunch.

The soup was a spin-off of hot and sour soup without the hot and with some honey for sweetness (maybe it can be a sweet and sour soup?). They got to finish off the rest of the veggie salad with some cantaloupes.

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For dinner I prepped this speedy three bean salad during lunch. It really was speedy! Most of the time on this dinner was spent whisking the dressing ingredients together (such hard work, right? ha!). The three bean salad has red beans, chickpeas, and green beans. I also used roasted red pepper and chopped kale. And the dressing is mostly lemon juice (told you, I’m on a lemon dressing kick) with a little apple cider vinegar and dijon mustard. The three bean salad was so easy and delicious, a definite keeper! In fact, I’m thinking of making some to bring to a Fourth of July party (at least then I will have something I can feel good about eating). To contrast the cold salad I cooked some sweet potato fries and served it all with some more salad (lettuce salad).

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Don’t worry that fry plate is the family style plate that we place on the table and grab from. That is not Brian’s plate (although I’m sure he wouldn’t complain if it was). While the fries kind of steal the show the three bean salad was well-loved too.

Since I didn’t have to make dinner during my usual dinner prep time I made cookies. Chocolate chunk chocolate cookies! I did adapt these cookies to use almond/peanut flour and chickpea flour instead of the oat flour to make them grain free. Not only are they yummy and very richly chocolatey they are vegan, refined sugar free, and my version is also grain free! Cookies that are a treat but won’t leave us craving sugar the next day.

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This picture really does not do justice to the chocolatey goodness of these cookies. There are chunks of dark chocolate that you just can’t see but you can definitely taste. I’m hoping to use some of these cookies in a toned down version of cheesecake for me to celebrate Brian’s 30th birthday on Monday. He is not a fan of cake but is a huge fan of an oreo cheesecake I made some years ago and it has become tradition that it is birthday treat every year. Just wait until you see the beauty of that cheesecake. No it is not the picture of health but it beautiful and rich looking (and tasting) and it’s a birthday, 30th at that!, so we will live it up (except me who will eat a no sugar version so I can function the next day, ha!).

 

 

Grilled Tofu

Last night a very sad thing happened while I was grilling dinner. Our charcoal chimney starter broke! The metal fell out from underneath (with hot coals inside). The chimney starter is what makes it possible for us to ever use the charcoal side of our grill. We had the grill for years and only used charcoal once or twice until I discovered the chimney thing. It heats up the charcoal way faster and no lighter fuel required. A replacement is definitely in order. The first was a Father’s Day present for my husband. Since I do most of the grilling and Father’s Day is still weeks off I doubt I can duplicate that gift.

We managed to save the coals and I grilled a sugar snap pea stir fry, kale, and tofu. The tofu was marinated in soy sauce, garlic, and rice wine vinegar and then dipped in a spice mix before being put on the grill. Underneath the stir fry we had millet.

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We have all become fond of tofu. That is not something I ever expected to say about myself or my family.

Lunch was fairly simple I cooked up some frozen salmon burgers and served them on lettuce. Love the frozen salmon burgers, they cook up in mere minutes but seem like such a fancy meal. I slathered them with a little veganaise.

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This lettuce burger was not quite as messy. Much more kid friendly than little pieces of fish. Both girls think red cabbage is delicious and I try to put it on their plates as often as we have it. They also ate pickles, cucumber, banana, and steamed cauliflower. It was incredible how fast Lexi finished her burger. Not so incredible with the cauliflower.

My Salad Was so Good I Forgot to Take a Picture!

Well, today’s dinner was only the best salad ever. Just remembering it makes me wish I had more. It was jam-packed with yummy: mushrooms, avocado, hard-boiled egg, pickles, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, onions, and olives. Seriously, amazing. So amazing in fact that none of us could wait to dive and I completely forgot to take a picture until it was half gone. Oh well, it will live on in memory.

Lunch, though, I got a picture of. We call these milkshakes but that’s a pretty lose term because it basically means a drink I blended up in the food processor and never includes ice cream or even dairy milk. I don’t believe the girls have had a milkshake from somewhere else.

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Yes, that is a side of raw carrots, broccoli, and kale (and yes, they did eat that raw kale!). This milkshake was pineapple. My milkshake recipe is not very accurate but essentially it is about a cup and a half of almond milk, pineapple chunks and a little of the juice, 2 pitted dates, spoonful of honey, a couple spoonfuls of unsweetened shreddy coconut, and 2 spoonfuls of plain unsweetened yogurt. This makes just enough for two little girls lunches or one daddy.