My Kids Rock

….and I don’t when it comes to updating the blog. I’ve been making great stuff and taking pics of all of it but have been seriously failing when it comes to putting a post up. If there was anything that is deserving of a post it is this: my kids are awesome!

Twice now I’ve made a super easy but incredibly delicious one pot roasted meal. This meal seems fancy but is very simple and requires minimal hands on time. I’ve been roasting a whole chicken atop whatever greens and vegetables I have. The greens, collards, or chard are coated with a little olive oil and some spices and then go into the roaster (I happen to have an electric roaster but in the oven would work too). Same thing with the veggies. As always, I slice up onions for good measure. I’ve been seasoning the chicken with the lemon and herb recipe from The Against All Grain cookbook. This dinner tastes amazing and totally cooks itself! Love! The girls like this dinner a lot and ask for a piece of chicken still on the bone. Eating meat off the bone is a novelty to them.

So when you cook a whole chicken you get a couple of bonuses. One being that you get to make homemade chicken broth with the leftover carcass. Which also cooks itself after you add some rough cut vegetables, water, a touch of apple cider vinegar, and herbs. I get more excited about the chicken broth than the actual chicken. A mug full of homemade chicken broth on a cold day warms me right up. Another bonus is the liver you get from the chicken. In all honesty we usually just toss that stuff (I don’t even like to admit this wastefulness). Not this time, I’ve been hearing all about how nutritious organ meat is. Since I already had some from my chicken I figured I’d give cooking liver a shot. If the family didn’t like it, no loss. Well, I only had a small amount of liver from my one chicken so I bought an additional pound from the store so we could really try it.

How does one cook liver? I was unsure so I did a little research and decided simple was better. Here’s how I did it: I patted the liver dry and then marinated it in almond milk for a couple of hours. I sautéed some shallots in coconut oil until soft and then added the liver (drained and patted dry again). Cooked until the liquid is released from the liver and it’s browned. That’s it, simple no fuss liver.

Now, could I serve this to the fam? Yes, if I was careful to avoid any negative connotations. I dished this up for lunch over some wilted spinach and plenty of other options just in case it was not a hit. Most importantly, I simply called it chicken from a different part of the chicken than we normally eat.



And……they ate it and liked it! My kids eat chicken liver, no questions asked, how awesome are they?! In fact, Brian had more qualms about it than they did. He said he’d be more ok if it was mixed into something rather than a pile of liver on his plate. Understandable, I guess. We had plenty leftover and mixed some with lentils into our chiles rellenos later in the week.


Again, no questions asked! Did I mention my kids rock! They are no different from other kids who love pizza, and cake and sugar but when you feed them real food instead they will eat real food! Amazing. Shout out to my mom who fed me liver as a child. I didn’t remember until I tasted the liver and then the memory of eating and enjoying it came flooding back. I was not at all a picky eater when I was little and my parents fed me all sorts of different things, which had led to some funny stories now that I’m grown. Moral of the story: (not about me but about typical kids, I was weird) don’t give up on the picky eaters! They can and will learn to enjoy a variety of foods if you allow them the opportunity to keep trying.



I am a lover of baseball, have been for years. A lot of people complain about how slow baseball is and how it’s not much fun to watch but I just love watching it (playing is a whole different story). Unfortunately for me, our lack of real cable means I don’t get to watch much baseball. A few years ago we ditched cable and Brian installed an HD antennae so we could get locally broadcast stations. What that means is I get the basic channels: ABC, NBC, FOX, and a few random extras. Do you know how much baseball they show on those stations? Well, I do, once a week, usually on Saturday they will show one game. Which game? Who knows, not the local game that’s for sure. And to keep it even more interesting, it’s always at a different time. Sometimes, the game will be on at 10 am or noon or 5 pm. There is just no telling. I have a better chance of actually going to a baseball game (I’ll take either the Mariner’s or the Rainiers, both fun to watch) than catching one on tv.

Except during playoff time. Those games are broadcast on the basic channels and that is my opportunity to soak up as much baseball as I can! Baseball Saturday happened at our house. And what says baseball better than hot dogs and french fries?!


We really jazzed up these hot dogs with cream cheese, relish, tomatoes, onions, and banana peppers. Next to the hot dogs we had peas, sweet potato fries, and roasted zucchini. The hot dogs were leftovers from camping so we only had a few and I supplemented with lentils for the girls and me. That salad you see is actually what I ate. I put all the hot dog toppings (including ketchup and mustard) on my greens. Also on my salad are the lentils and sweet potato fries. I have gotten to the point where it’s just easier (and honestly tastier) for me to just add the things to my salad instead of eating them separately. I’d rather have a salad that tastes like hot dogs and sweet potatoes than eating a boring salad next to sweet potato fries and lentils.

Remember, earlier this year when I had seen my fair share of hot dogs and couldn’t stand the thought of another? Well, I’m still there except that I can tolerate watching my family eat them, sort of. I do limit the girls, they only got half a hot dog, and I definitely don’t give them a whole bun. But the hubby makes his own choice. He is able to tolerate a little bread every now and then much better than me and probably better than the girls. So as long as this is not a daily in our house we’re ok. It sure made for a great baseball Saturday!


Back to School Celebration, Round 2?!

Lexi started pre-k today. She has been very excited to head back to school and patiently waited her turn as she counts down the days and continuously asks when she gets to go. Since we had a special family dinner and dessert last week to kick off back to school, Brian and I decided we would go out to dinner the night of Lexi’s first day of school (also we had a Groupon that was going to expire soon!) to make that day special for her too. We had planned this out weeks ago. Our celebration last week was not intended for just Isabelle but for everyone as a kick off to the school season. Lexi didn’t see it that way I guess. Wouldn’t you know the day before Lexi starts school she provides me with her special dinner and dessert requests for her first day back to school. This was all completely unprompted.

She said she would like lasagna and ice cream cake. Funny enough for dinner that very night I had originally planned on making eggplant and zucchini lasagna but then decided it was too much work and was going to simplify dinner. After she informed she would like lasagna I figured I’d just go for it and we’d have the lasagna a night early and keep our original plan to have dinner out. That meant we had to tell her about our surprise dinner plans for the following night. That girl loves going out to eat so she was not disappointed about having lasagna a day early.


The eggplant zucchini lasagna is based of this recipe. The eggplant and zucchini is roasted beforehand and then I covered them with, basically, a black bean hummus and some homemade spaghetti sauce with added lentils. For the girls I added a small amount of mozzarella to at least make it seem somewhat lasagna like in honor of Lexi. What better to eat with lasagna than side salads!

Now that we had our lasagna bases covered, Lexi was concerned with her special dessert. She had very specific ideas of what this ice cream cake would entail. I, however, could not fathom making another cake even if it was ice cream cake. I hadn’t planned on making any sort of dessert after a dinner out. But I took her request to heart (after all, it is her first day of school and she does get short-changed a lot being the youngest) and made homemade strawberry ice cream and chocolate chunk cookies. Then I sandwiched the delicious ice cream into the cookies to make chocolate chunk cookie strawberry ice cream sandwiches.


As yummy as these were I almost didn’t get away with it! Lexi was excited about cookies and ice cream but bummed that there was no cake. We talked it over and she decided that the cookies and ice cream were acceptable. Thank goodness! It’s not as if I didn’t feed her cake just the day before. I’m helping a friend make a cake for a wedding reception so I had to try out a coconut cake recipe. Cake experimentation equals taste testing for the family. Turns out coconut cake is pretty darn good. I tested out this recipe, in mini cake tins. We decided that the cake with a little coconut flakes mixed into the batter yields lighter fluffier cake (in case you ever make a coconut cake) so this is the version I’ll be making for the large cake.


The frosting was a light and fluffy and coconut flavored and topped with toasted unsweetened shredded coconut. I’m not typically a fan of coconut but the lightness of this had me wanting to keep taste testing (if only I wouldn’t have a headache later).

All said and done Lexi enjoyed her first day back to school and her special dinner and dessert, even if it was slightly different from she had asked for. Plus, as a consolation I will be making more cake in just a couple of days for the actual reception so she will have plenty of taste testing, beater eating opportunities.

No Toast French Toast

French toast, a kids favorite. I have very fond memories of eating french toast for breakfast as a kid and it was a regular on our breakfast rotation in times past. Nowadays the girls will randomly suggest it for breakfast but I often shut it down so we don’t start the day off on a bad note (see: tummyaches before lunch!). I wondered if there was a way I could make french toast without actually using toast and I stumbled upon a Pinterest pin for squash french toast. It’s basically zucchini pancakes but with cinnamon and vanilla to up the french toastness of it.


The girls called it pancakes but they did really like it. The egg and cinnamon really do add to the french toast flavor even if it doesn’t look like french toast.

For lunch we had vegetable tacos. Cauliflower, broccoli, onions, and peppers with taco seasonings. We ate these in lettuce with a side of lentils and some mango.


Lunch love! The girls managed to eat these without making a huge mess and Lexi was convinced she needed more.

Over the weekend we camped for one night in Yakima. Since we were in eastern Washington there was a no campfire burn ban in effect. Nobody really talked about s’mores but on our drive home the girls kept playing that they were making s’mores and marshmallows for their toys. I think they realized they had missed out on some camping s’mores. Since then, I’d been thinking how we could recreate them at home (and no, not in the microwave). I searched my recipes and found this for peanut butter s’more bites. It’s marshmallows cut in half, spread with peanut butter, and dipped in chocolate. I coated our bites with actual graham cracker crumbs.


In addition, I made some apples the same way. These were tasty but maybe a little too indulgent. I guess that is what s’mores are all about.

Tonight was girls only dinner. Brian got Mariners baseball tickets from work so he ate dinner there. It’s been a little while since we had a girls only dinner and nobody had ideas of what they wanted. Eventually, we came up with chicken nuggets. Not just any chicken nuggets, homemade chicken nuggets! The chicken nuggets are coated with almond and walnut meal, flax seeds, and some herbs. Also they were baked and not fried.


Since I was baking the chicken nuggets I made some kale chips to go with it. Raw vegetables rounded out dinner. The girls have finally come around to homemade chicken nuggets! They used to not really like my homemade ones and preferred the store-bought junk filled kind (story of just about everything!). The less I feed them that stuff the more they come around to the homemade stuff. Macaroni and cheese, though, that is a battle I may never win. Kids and their love for chicken nuggets, macaroni, and french toast. What’s with it?!

Practice for School

Vacation bible school is this week! Lexi attends from 8:45 to 11:30 every day and Isabelle attends from 8:45 to 3 pm. When I signed them up I was not so sure about the extended day for Isabelle but then I figured it will be a good practice week for us to see what it will be like when she is gone all day at school in just one short month. Isabelle did a VBS a few years ago and loved it so I was just waiting for Lexi to be old enough to attend one as well so they could both go. As the youngest, I worry Lexi gets short-changed a lot and is stuck watching her sister do fun stuff or is being dragged around to Isabelle’s activities. Mindful of that, we skipped the last few years of VBS.

Since Isabelle is there all day she needs to bring a lunch. Practice for me to get lunches ready for her and for Brian each day since that is exactly what it will be like come back to school. At least I still get Lexi to eat lunch with. I’m a huge fan of prepping more than one day’s lunch at a time and having a few options at the ready for her to grab and go. With that in mind I packed three lunches to start us off:


Leftover vegetable nachos, strawberries, and roasted almonds with chocolate chips.


Peanut butter banana muffins (amazing 5 ingredient recipe with no sugar or grains!), carrots, and apple slices.


Peanut butter and jelly in lettuce, carrot, cucumber, pickle, apple slices, and a small no bake granola bar.

She went with the muffins for today’s lunch. The method seems workable. I can tell you I feel a lot better knowing I only need to come up with one more lunch for the week (early release on Friday) and hopefully I can fill that in with leftovers. Plus, since I’m already doing the prep work Lexi’s lunches are somewhat made already too since they match what Isabelle has. Isabelle said she was nice and full from lunch and finished everything. She did notice that every other kid had a sandwich, though. That, I’m sure, will be very typical of her lunch experiences.

For dinner tonight we had a grilled vegetable salad bowl. I grilled zucchini and yellow squash, corn, peas, and onions. Over the weekend I made some lentils in anticipation of lunches or whatever so we mixed those in with the vegetables, added some tomatoes, and this vegan green goddess dressing. The dressing was a great added touch since it was made with avocado.


We may have been a little too full to adequately enjoy these veggie bowls because while they were cooking I was mixing up almond thumbprint cookie dough to cook on the grill after dinner.  The cookie dough was so yummy and very, very filling since it is made primarily of almonds and almond butter.


The thumbprint cookies are topped with cherry chia jam and a few just have chocolate chips. These cookies do have a bit of brown rice flour in them but they are sweetened with only honey, yay!. They are yummy but very filling. I like cookies like that, when you can eat just one but be completely satisfied that you don’t feel the need to eat more and more.

All in all, a pretty good little Monday. Maybe back to school won’t be so scary after all? Not likely, I was so nervous for both girls to be away from home today, that may not change.


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.


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!


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.


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!

4th of July Weekend!

Whew! We were so excited about 4th of July being on a Friday this year and tried to drum up some camping plans. Nothing worked out so then we were excited to get some at home time for the long weekend. My idea of an uneventful long weekend was not fulfilled. The 4th of July was pretty quiet for most of the day. I went on a long run. We had a yummy red, white, and blue pancake breakfast on the porch (or leftover chiles quiche for the adults).


We had a simple veggie filled lunch: lentils and artichoke salads, and lentils with veggies for the girls.


We even had family nap time! For festivities we went to my sister’s fiancee’s parent’s house for a family BBQ and fireworks fun. The girls were decked out:


They ate way too much food and stayed up way too late. I’m pretty sure Lexi ate her weight in tortilla chips! But they had fun and there was very little whining so that is a win.

The day after we embarked on our first family hike! Without knowing how much the girls could handle we picked a 2.5 mile hike to some mini waterfall. The girls are used to doing a decent amount of walking from walking up to Izzy’s school every morning (only half a mile to school but a lot of that is uphill) and we enjoy walking around the neighborhood. The trip was a total success! The distance was no problem for them and the hike was uphill for most of the first half. We feel like they could handle more and are all looking forward to more hikes in the near future.

I packed us a lunch to eat during our outing (oops no picture!). The girls (ok and us too) have been loving on peanut butter and jelly in boston lettuce (way easier to eat than other lettuce sandwiches because the boston lettuce makes a little cup to hold what you put inside it).

We were all so worn out from staying up late the night before and not sleeping in and then driving and then hiking. Soup seemed like a comforting healthy dinner. The soup du jour was veggie.


This soup had cauliflower, carrots, yellow squash, and spinach from my garden (yay!). We went with simple salads next to dinner. I had to make this day an all veggie day after the 4th of July bbq.

I am hot dogged out from all the bbqs already (Brian’s birthday dinner may have pushed me over the edge). My family does not share my sentiment. So I am looking forward to not seeing a hot dog for some time (except when I gave one to Isabelle at a birthday party today). No hot dogs on my grilling menu for a while! This week is supposed to be hot so we are planning on doing some grilling.

Meat Free Monday

We survived the meat filled camping trip! We actually had a very good time, ate way too much, had a few great campfires, got a little exercise, and surprised Brian with a few Father’s Day things (we totally got him his own Razor scooter so he can ride around with Izzy).

This week is going to be meat free all the way. That is until Saturday when we have our super charged Brian-Accomplished-His-Marathon and End of the School Year Celebration. We are giving the girls some Frozen paraphernalia including the movie on the actual last day of school, which is Wednesday. Since Brian has his marathon this weekend we didn’t want to sabotage his efforts with a celebration before so we will combine the two on Saturday. We have planned homemade pizzas (a favorite family night activity), a no bake pie (flavor to be unveiled on Saturday), and movies.

Naturally, following all the camping meat-eating and the celebration to follow this weekend we are vegging it up this week. Currently my dinner meal plan for the remainder of the week has the following: zucchsgetti, tofajitas (that’s tofu fajitas, for all you non-word combiners), roasted veggie bowls, and salad.

Tonight we had an interesting casserole. While browsing around looking for what I could do with lentils I came across this recipe for a Bean and Lentil Casserole. It’s really more of an idea than an actual recipe and would maybe not go over so well in other households. But in our house, veggies layered with bean mush is a total win. In fact, mush like this is one of Brian’s favorite things. He can put it in a bowl and use a giant spoon. Plus it has refried beans in it which is high up on the great-things-you-can-eat-with-a-big-spoon list. I loved it because of, well the veggies, beans, and lentils and because it was baked piping hot and warmed me right up. The girls loved it for all the same reasons. Beware, though, it might not seem like much but it is very filling!


On the adult portions I topped with a vegan cheeze sauce. The sauce is made primarily of almond milk and nutritional yeast and while I love it, the girls really don’t. And now, I have extra for tofajitas later this week. Yay!

For lunch we had an extra baked potato saved from camping this weekend. I reheated the potato with butter and shoved beans and spinach inside and drizzled homemade “ranch” (vegannaise, plain yogurt, Johnny’s Garlic Seasoning, and Johnny’s Salt) over the top. It was hilarious to see Lexi grab the potato and eat it from her hand as if it was a sandwich. Either way, they devoured lunch quite happily.



A lovely meat free Monday!


Wheat Free for Me

I’m on a renewed wheat free kick. I checked out the Wheat Belly Cookbook from the library, mostly because the actual book was not available (long list of holds) and the cookbook has a brief overview of the concepts in the book. I’m already a believer in no grains so I think the abridged version is all I really needed. The book has some really great recipes, many of which I cannot wait to try (especially the whole section of wheat free baking!). Plus, there are so many that make me feel like I don’t need to give into the grains to feed my family. The recipes in this book don’t include any traditional grain flours, not just eliminating the gluten. So no oat flours, brown rice flour, etc. A lot of almond meal, coconut flour, ground flax seeds, and chickpea flour. I’ve never used chickpea flour so it’s on my to purchase asap list.

Fueled by my grain free reading I made tabbouleh for lunch substituting the bulgar for chickpeas. Izzy asked for some more chickpea salad sandwich filling so this just made sense.


Next to the grain free tabbouleh the girls had watermelon and banana flavored yogurt (I just mash up some banana and mix into the plain yogurt).

For dinner it was Veggie Bowls! The veggies were grilled earlier this week and just waiting to be used: asparagus, broccoli, and yellow squash. I added onions, peas, brown lentils, and spinach to finish it off. These bowls were topped with a lemon tahini (or peanut butter in our case) dressing.


In other news, I can’t seem to keep my fridge stocked full of produce! We are going through it so fast, my basket from Bountiful Baskets on Saturday is long gone! I won’t get another one for almost a month since we are going camping next weekend. Looks like I will be buying massive amounts of produce at grocery store prices.

Low Key Tuesday

Both of the girls had no school today, amazing! A free Tuesday when we were just gone all weekend was perfect.

I went on my longest run since the half marathon this morning. It was maybe 6 miles, I say maybe because I haven’t been tracking my mileage or even timing the runs. After all the training, I’ve been enjoying heading out with just a watch to know when I need to be back. That is how I used to run pretty much up until marrying Brian. I enjoy running for running and don’t enjoy the pressure of pace, distance, time, etc. Maybe once I’m feeling better about my running I’ll get back into competing with myself.

I didn’t even ask the girls what they wanted for breakfast this morning. Honestly, I was afraid of the response I would get and didn’t want to make anything particularly complex (or filled with grains/sugar!). Instead I mixed up some basic peanut butter banana smoothies and served alongside leftover oatmeal almond flour pancakes.


Not beautiful but tasty.

After working outside for awhile this morning I came in to make them this broccoli carrot slaw salad. They really enjoy this salad and I like how easy it is and all the good stuff it’s filled with (broccoli, shredded carrots, a little onion, pumpkin seeds, mixed together with a bit of ranch and veganaise). Apparently, I gave them too much watermelon because they both couldn’t finish their lunch!


Lucky for us we had some lentil walnut loaf in the freezer that we needed to eat. We love this lentil loaf (girls included). It is filled with lentils, walnuts, apples, celery, carrots, and oatmeal. The original recipe calls for raisins but we prefer a more savory loaf and omit the raisins and sometimes the apple. It was wonderful to not have to prep this today because while it is delicious it’s a bit of work to prepare. With it we had smashed potatoes/cauliflower. The idea here is to get the family eating mashed cauliflower but I add it into smashed potatoes so that the taste resembles potatoes more than cauliflower. Mashed potatoes is one of Brian’s favorite foods so we have it on occasion and I healthify it but don’t want to take away the essence. (BTW I gladly accept the mashed cauliflower substitute, no potatoes needed!) I roasted some okra to go with dinner and served everything with a green salad (yay for going to Costco and getting my super greens blend!).


Seriously, the lentil loaf recipe is a huge hit. The recipe was one of the first vegan recipes I ever made and it convinced me that I could transition my family to eating vegan food regularly. Plus, lentils are cheap and much less creepy than ground beef (and probably if you buy the expensive ground beef you don’t want to make meatloaf out of it). My mom always made her meatloaf with bacon on top and that’s how I used to make mine. With the lentil loaf I don’t even miss the bacon, I think it would change the flavors too much (not to mention the vegan factor of it all, ha). Ok, I will stop raving about the lentil loaf but I am so glad there is some leftover in my fridge for tomorrow!