Salad in Various Forms

We had a couple of types of salad today. Salad being my favorite, I love when I can get the girls to eat a salad as well. Granted neither of these salads were lettuce green salads but they were filled with veggies so I’m not complaining.

Both girls had swim lessons followed by dance class this morning so we ended up eating lunch in stages. Also, Lexi was incessantly hungry today so maybe she is growing? Breaking up lunch into 3 mini meals/snacks seemed better than filling her with snacks so she wouldn’t be hungry for the good stuff in the main meal. While we waited for dance class to begin the girls shared a peach. Two girls in cute dance outfits sharing a very juicy peach is pretty funny. With every bite I’m cautioning them to not drip peach juice all over their outfits. After dance they got their side of veggies with hummus as a snack on the way home.

I figured it would be a little hectic with both activities this morning and then getting home in time to make a decent lunch so I prepared this tabouli last night. Completely grain-free and could not be easier! It has tomatoes, peas, cucumber, onions, parsley, and hulled hemp hearts. Isabelle loves this kind of thing. Give her some veggies mixed together with some spices, herbs, and olive oil and she is a happy girl.

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Next to the tabouli they had red cabbage and gluten-free pretzels. We tried them at Costco and really enjoyed them. While they are not the healthiest thing in the world I like that they are gluten-free. I’d like to put as little gluten in my family as possible but still enjoy the occasional thing like pretzels. These pretzels are super crunchy and we didn’t feel like we were missing out one bit!

The girls and I went on a shopping adventure today. We planned on going to Target to pick up a backpack and some shirts to tye-dye later, that’s it. Target, so dangerous! We came out with all of Izzy’s school supplies and some extra stuff. They hooked me with their low prices that I just got everything at once. All the unexpected purchases led to us getting home late (after Brian!). Mexican bean salad had already been prepared and was waiting for us when we got home. The recipe is heavily adapted to include kale, broccoli, less peppers, no corn, and light on the spices. The mix of beans, onions, garlic, oil, vinegar, and spices is so good. Again, right up Isabelle’s alley. Lexi  surprised me as she was very excited to put her bean salad in a lettuce wrap like I did. Most of the salad fell out but at least she got some bonus greens in.

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Simple dinner of carrot sticks, bean salad with avocado and cashew cheeze sauce (adults only), and homemade tortilla chips. Lexi finished this up quick and was worried I was giving all the leftovers to Brian for lunch tomorrow. Not to worry, sweet Lexi, mommy saved you some Mexican bean salad. As I said she was ultra hungry today so after she finished dinner in record time she asked for more bean salad. I love that my kids love stuff like this. It’s good that we all get to eat these delicious nutritious meals together instead of me making this for the adults and feeding chicken nuggets to the kiddos (I used to do that at least weekly).

Guess what else…..I made peanut butter cookies! Must share this later as it was my first real attempt to recreate my favorite cookie of times past.

School Free Friday

Our first Friday of summer break! It was me and the girls all day today since Brian is up in Seattle preparing for his long-awaited marathon. When I asked what they wanted for breakfast this morning I got the answer I had been anticipating: pancakes. But then they changed their minds to waffles. Lexi is a waffle lover and she convinced me to make them. Waffles are so time-consuming because you can only cook one at a time! Maybe it’s time to invest in a second waffle maker? Probably not, I’m pretty particular about my waffle maker and I doubt I could find one that fits my specifications. Plus, mine makes heart waffles, definitely can’t beat that!

I used this almond flour pancake recipe and just made into waffles (no changes). They worked out beautifully. They were extremely filling waffles and I was shocked to see the girls finish their plates. The oversized breakfast worked out well though because we went to a Kid’s Day event (official school is out kickoff in a nearby city) and didn’t eat lunch until late.

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Poor lonely strawberry. There were only a few left after sending some to work with Brian and snacking on them before breakfast. Because these waffles are so dense I’ve got quite a few leftover and should probably freeze them so I can easily pull them out when Lexi requests waffles again.

Since it was just us girls for dinner guess what I made. Salad! Not just any salad, Mexican inspired salads! I’m in the middle of stocking my freezer with big bags of cooked beans. Sadly, it took my awhile to realize that if I soak a lot of beans at once and then cook them, I can have beans in the freezer that are almost as instant as canned beans but better. Homemade cooked beans are not as salty and taste fresh compared to the canned kind. This project usually takes me three or four days depending on how many different beans I’m making. I used to cook only what I needed at a time (huge time waster). So today’s variety was black beans and a few of those got thrown into the salad along with some shredded chicken that I cooked for tomorrow’s pizza night.

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These bowls are deceptively heavy, packed with veggies. There is onion, roasted broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, peas, and corn. The salads got a splash of lime juice and the girls have oil and seasonings while I got chipotle salsa (so obsessed with this stuff right now).

We are looking forward to tomorrow. Isabelle has her last soccer game and Brian will have completed 26.2 miles! Serious accomplishments around here.

Dinner in a Bowl

You know, I find myself reaching for the bowls for our dinner more and more. In fact I’d say most of my meals are eaten from a bowl rather than on a plate. But when you think of dinner, you think of plates. That’s why they are called dinner plates, right?

Forget the plates, the best dinners come in bowls! As I contemplate the remainder of my planned dinner meals for the week they will go in bowls as well.

The other night we had lentil vegetable salad bowl. It was a miscellaneous mix of things and my best effort to fill up my family (mostly directed at Brian who went on a faster paced long run that morning). We had gone to the movies that day and everyone had eaten entirely too much movie theater popcorn. Awhile ago I remember coming across something about how lentils would help if you had eaten not so well recently. Now, I don’t know if that is actually true but I like lentils (even if I’ve only been eating them for a year) and they are pretty easy.

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There are so many good things hiding in this bowl. In addition to lentils there is quinoa, peas, grilled purple cabbage, sauteed onions, and wilted spinach. I believe these vegetable salads were topped with a little oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper. My family loves quinoa. Whenever it makes an appearance they are sure to enthusiastically finish their food.

Yesterday, we had taco salads for dinner! I could eat taco salad a lot. No meat in these salads, though. The taco part of the salad is the sauteed zucchini, tomatoes and red beans in taco seasoning. The family got lucky and I happened to have some cheese already shredded and a green banana that needed to get used (banana french fries totally good on a taco salad).

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These salads were loaded with green peppers, olives, grilled jalapeños, chipotle salsa, and a scoop of yogurt.

Technically, the adult dinner tonight was not in a bowl but I did go back and forth about how to serve it. In the end I went with a plate because that is how one would get curry at a restaurant.

Yesterday, I was looking at a menu for a Thai restaurant and literally dreamed about Thai curry last night meaning I had to make some for dinner (easy dream to decode, ha ha). I’ve never made a Thai curry before and looked up a few recipes and then put my own thing together.

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I used yellow curry powder and a can of lite coconut milk as a start for the sauce. The curry has peas, spinach, broccoli, chickpeas, green peppers, and onions in it. All that saucy goodness was spooned over cauliflower rice. The girls had each of those things individually with a little bit of the actual curry sauce because I didn’t want to risk it. Isabelle said she loved the curry but I’m not sure how much she actually tasted it. I tend to serve their foods up in separate places in the bowl so they can decide if they want to mix it all together or eat it separately (you know kids get weird about that sometimes). After eating this for dinner (and having some leftovers for tomorrow morning) I don’t think Thai curry will be taking over my dreams again. I dream about food way too often, it’s not normal.

Back at It

Memorial Day weekend camping trip was a success! We picked a place that there wouldn’t be a ton of traffic getting there and home (thankfully that was true). The weather was a mix of decent and rainy. Which really during May in Washington that’s all you can really ask for. The girls rode bikes, we took a long walk, had a few great campfires, and took some naps. Camping for the extra day really makes a huge difference.

The camping menu worked out so well. We didn’t have too much food and started running out of food. Our new trailer’s fridge is a little smaller than the old one and I had a hard time fitting everything, no more over packing. Also, since I was not at the mercy of somebody’s else’s cooking I was able to modify meals so that I didn’t feel awful. That is until we stopped off for Mexican for lunch on the way home (unfortunately the food was not great and definitely not worth feeling yuck for).

One of my favorite parts of camping is the morning we leave. Now that we live the trailer life it’s much more laid back and things like this happen:

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S’mores before breakfast! Side note: I love to roast things over the fire but would like to actually consume what I roast, what other options are there aside from marshmallows and hot dogs? There are only so many of those I can roast and I give away before it is a detriment to the rest of the family also.

While I was able to eat pretty normally (for me) during camping the same cannot be said of the rest of the family (lettuce wrapped chili dog, anyone?). The best thing for dinner after a trip like this is a big bowl of vegetables. Dinner was salads all around (surprised it wasn’t soup?). This salad was extra special with roasted chickpeas (we are all in love with them), curry roasted cauliflower and squash, regular salad toppers (carrots, onion, etc), a spoon of hummus, and drizzle of olive oil.

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Back on the clean eating wagon!

Cinco de Mayo!

Yes, I know this is an Americanized holiday. But I love Mexican food (and Spanish) so I love Cinco de Mayo. Also, it happens to be my best friend’s birthday so I usually get to celebrate it big every year. This year, however, her 30th birthday party fell on the evening before my first half-marathon. I really wanted to be there for at least a little bit so we brought the family out to the party place early before everyone else got there. While the party hadn’t started yet the food did and since I had to run in the morning I did not get to take part in the nachos, guacamole, taquitos, all other Mexican yumminess. Sad, sad face for this Mexican food loving mommy. My consolation was that I had planned to make a delicious homemade Mexican dinner today on Cinco de Mayo, for my post race relax day.

For starters we made homemade baked corn tortilla chips and guacamole. The corn chips we got par-baked from our Bountiful Basket (love, love Bountiful Baskets, best way to get a lot of fruits and veggies for cheap). We brushed them with avocado oil sprinkled with salt and baked until crispy. Izzy was a great help in making these chips. She spread them on the pan and enjoyed brushing them with oil.

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For dinner, my favorite Mexican food: tamales!! I judge a Mexican restaurant primarily based on their tamales (and their salsa).  I haven’t found really great tamales on the westside of Washington. That’s ok, though, because I just make my own. The recipe here  here is a good one. I appreciate that it uses coconut oil instead of lard in the masa. Of course, I make my own lentils and amp up the veggie content by stirring in whatever sounds good. Today it was broccoli so I steamed broccoli and chopped it up very small to add into the lentil mixture. Again, Izzy was a great help with making these. Tamales are very time-consuming with all the pressing the mixture into each corn husk and then ever so gently rolling them up and folding them so they stay closed. Lexi attempted to help, she did some, mostly she complained that she had to wait to eat them.

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With our tamales we had baked zucchini, carrot sticks, and the tamales were served over lettuce and salsa for the grown ups. They were very good and everyone had seconds.

For dessert we had drizzled honey on some of the chips and sprinkled with cinnamon. Next, comes the best part: when it’s time to eat it melted chocolate is drizzled over the top. Crunchy, cinnamon, salty, and chocolate, great combination.

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