Twas the Night Before School

Exciting times at our house. Isabelle has been counting down the days until school begins again. After camping we spent the day getting prepped for the big day. Which meant lunch packing, snack prep, double checking the backpack, etc.

So here it is my first grader’s lunch for the first two days of school:

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Peanut butter and blueberry jam lettuce wraps, plums, carrots, and cherry tomatoes.

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Pizza wraps (pepperoni, cheese, sauce, olives, pineapple and spinach), grapes, broccoli, and a peanut butter ball.

Izzy gets a snack at school as well which is parent provided for their child only. While this is a bit of a hassle because I have to prep a snack in addition to lunches I’m glad that she won’t be getting fruit snacks every single day. And because the snack is eaten in the classroom it has to be nut-free. We are so not nut-free! The girls’ favorite snack is trail mix so nut-free is not for us. Anyways, we made our own sunflower seed butter to assist in the snack process and that was no easy feat. My food processor did not appreciate the continuous processing to try to get the sunbutter smooth. Eventually, we got it smooth enough and I put it on celery with cranberries and cacao nibs. The other snack options are grapes and a seed trail mix (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, roasted edamame, and raisins).

Since it was our first day home after camping we had soup for dinner. Predictable but delicious!

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Side salads as usual. The soup is a veggie mixed bean soup filled with green beans, broccoli, onions, yellow squash, and peas. In mine and Brian’s I added cheeze sauce (milk and nutritional yeast) to make it cheezey vegetable soup. Mmmm. Also made for a delicious breakfast!

Super Size Zucchini Pancake

We received another Terra Organics delivery today. I’ve got to say I’m just loving it! Getting the veggies with all the greens attached as they were grown is absolutely amazing. My salads are so exciting when I get to add in those additional greens. Regular lettuce does get a little old day after day so adding the green tops from seasonal vegetables really amps up my salads. We got something new in our box today: kohlrabi (with greens attached!!). The girls were intrigued and up for trying it out at lunch time along with some of the carrot greens.

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This is a simple lunch of purple carrots and their greens, kohlrabi, radish, and pears. The main focus was the chicken quinoa soup. I happened to have cooked quinoa, chicken, onions, and broth in my fridge so it was very easy to throw it all together and heat. Verdict on the kohlrabi is: yum! It’s a bit like a radish but not spicy and kind of like a broccoli in texture. We ate ours raw as I’m guessing we will do with the rest of them but you can cook them too.

During my search for what to make for breakfast this morning I came across a recipe for zucchini pancakes with chickpea flour. Dinner, dinner! We just received the biggest zucchini I have ever seen and this recipe called for quite a bit of zucchini so I figured we could put a dent in this mondo zucchini. Really, I think this zucchini was a Veggie Tales cast member it was so big. The recipe is a bit like zucchini fritters but without eggs and with some earthy Indian spices. It’s nice to have a pancake/fritter recipe without the eggs. And I didn’t miss the eggs at all.

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The pancakes are made super size as well. They each take up the whole skillet. Generally I like things like that but these pancakes were a little bit of work due to the batter consistency and size. Next time, if I can remember, I will try them in smaller sizes to see if they cook up a little easier. All in all, they were very good and despite my worries of how they would go over with the girls they liked them just fine as well. I kept thinking the pancakes deserved a sauce, possibly hummus or some sort of yogurt sauce, but in fact they were delicious as is.

Guess what else I did today? I made my birthday ice cream for tomorrow! I got a little preview before I put it in the freezer and mmmmm we are in for a treat! It wouldn’t really be fair to discuss it too much without having a picture to put with the description so you’ll have to wait to see what I did.

 

Between Vacations

We have been home from Spokane for a few days now and have been busy catching up and thinking about our Ocean Shores weekend getaway coming up.

While we survived most of the six-day vacation without too much tummy troubles, Lexi barely made it the last day. Her poor tummy was not doing so well, overloaded with pizza crust and breakfast potatoes. You can be sure I made a lot of soup for our first full day home:

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This soup happens to be white bean soup. For lunch we had Asian mushroom soup. And for breakfast we had smoothies. Determined to give Lexi’s little tummy only things that would heal it.

However, that was days ago now and we’ve had some other great meals since then. One of my favorites is this bok choy stir fry with homemade hoisin sauce. Oh my, it was tasty. The sauce recipe came from the Wheat Belly Cookbook. I’ve never actually had hoisin sauce before but now that I have I feel like I’ve been missing out!

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The stir fry has green beans, peas, bok choy, onions, and garlic. The veggies were sautéed in a little soy sauce and sesame oil and then served over raw shredded carrots and millet. White beans and the hoisin sauce topped the bowls. How I wish there was still leftovers of this!

This dinner was also loved by the family:

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I had been dying to make the mushroom gravy (Oh She Glows cookbook) and decided to make it the super star of the meal instead of a side dish. The mushroom gravy tops grilled cauliflower, kale, chicken and white beans. Next to it we had grilled corn. The gravy was so good and I’m glad I finally got to try it!

Other than that we have had some pretty amazing desserts. Brian and I had a few people over to jointly celebrate our 30th birthdays (mine is on the 24th!). Per usual Brian wanted a cheesecake to celebrate. Since we had recently had the Oreo cheesecake a more basic flavor was in order:

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Plain cheesecake topped with raspberry chia seed jam and melted chocolate drizzle. Oh, and the crust had to be Oreo. I have to admit, while this cheesecake is totally not healthy it is absolutely divine! I had a little taste (or a few) and was in awe of how good it was.

Since that cheesecake was too decadent for me I made a blueberry cobbler on the grill. Not to be outdone by the cheesecake the cobbler got a little chocolate drizzle too. =)

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So that’s what we’ve been eating lately. Some good healthy dinners and some very delicious treats. I’m busy modifying our Ocean Shores getaway weekend menu to suit our family. We take the trip with my sister, her fiancée, my nephew and my dad. None of whom eat anything like we do. When my sister and I discussed the menu it was laden with thing after thing that I’d prefer my family not eat. If it was just one meal or two it would be no big deal and we wouldn’t modify much but every single meal is filled with meat, carbs, and sugar. I’m pretty much bringing healthier equivalents to everything on the menu. Not very much fun but I want my girls (and me) to be able to enjoy the whole weekend and not just the one meal that seems delicious but makes them feel sick later. The interesting thing was that she actually had no idea that we don’t generally eat so many “regular” things. Despite being frustrated by the menu I took that as a compliment that we are not overbearing with our “We don’t eat that!” or health choices. That being said, all bets may be off after this trip and all my substitutions.

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).

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

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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:

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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.

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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.

Slow Cooker Soup

Right after soccer practice today we jetted over to Lexi’s preschool graduation. She was graduating from preschool to pre-k. Ha ha, any excuse to celebrate I guess (and feed my children more cake).

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My day was super busy with it being the last day of preschool, soccer practice, graduation, and I’m in the middle of packing and prepping for camping. With all that dinner needed to cook itself.

Something about french onion soup was calling my name. I threw it in the slow cooker this morning and added broccoli for extra staying power (since we were not going to top with bread) later this afternoon.

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I used this recipe as a guide adapting it for the slow cooker. This soup is almost vegan, aside from the butter I used to cook my onions in (totally could have used olive oil). The soup got a little sprinkle of nutritional yeast to add a bit of cheesy flavor. For the minimal effort I put into this meal it turned out pretty good. Plus, I have so much extra I can use for lunch or breakfast tomorrow so that I’m not trying to cook and pack up. The last couple hours of getting everything packed into the trailer and vehicles is really hectic and it’s awful to have to stop and whip up some food for everyone during it.

Here We Go Again…

Yesterday was all about bettering our tummies from the food filled weekend. Soup just equals healing to me and breakfast is not too early for soup.

I used to be a sweet food breakfast eater (loved me a breakfast of cake and cup of coffee) but I have since changed my ways. Soup is a great way to start the day (or any dinner leftovers really). Brian used to joke that if you add an egg to anything it’s breakfast. My previous breakfast traditionalist self was appalled by such comments but now I’m like why bother adding the egg. Good food is good food any time of day.

Tummy healing soup for breakfast? You bet! Even the girls did not mind too much. The soup was hot and sour soup (no hot for the littles) which is mostly broth. Then I did add an egg in the form of omelettes stuffed with garlic broccoli, power greens, and a little shredded cheddar to win them over. Peaches helped my case.

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For lunch I couldn’t feed them more soup since that’s what I planned for dinner (mixed lentil soup with side salads). We went the smoothie route instead. Apple pie smoothies and raw veggies helped heal our tummies. I made the apple pie smoothie with raw apples chopped up and then blended into the smoothie. The smoothies were refreshing and needed no extra sweetener. I will save my smoothie versus juicing rant for another time (lucky you!).

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The girls got a bonus almond meal pancake that was leftover from last week. Lexi asked this is all we get for lunch but I believe she was full when she finished. Most importantly, everyone was feeling way better than the day before. Another successful weekend recovery day. I’d love to say we shouldn’t need another one anytime soon but we are going camping for Memorial day weekend. Our fate lies in the hands of how many s’mores and hot dogs we consume (uh oh!).

Clam Chowder

A few months ago I took Izzy and Lexi to Ivar’s to have clam chowder for the first time. We shared one small bowl because I wasn’t sure they would like it and because I was worried about the dairy content for Isabelle. Well, they both really liked it. Then, about a month ago I was craving warm clam chowder after a long run but didn’t want to go buy some or fill my body with what may be in that clam chowder. A little searching online resulted in numerous recipes for dairy-free clam chowder. Maybe we could have our chowder and eat it too.  =)

I have never made clam chowder before (my soup making skills only recently came to me) dairy-free or not. Homemade clam chowder sounded intimidating. Would making it dairy-free even be worth it? Last night, I chanced it. I used this recipe as a guide, adapting as usual to work for us. I modified the steps so that the soup could cook in my slow cooker while we were at soccer practice. We were out of bacon so I was very unsure how it would taste without that magic. To make it more mom friendly I used cauliflower instead of potato in the whole soup and added little cubes of baked potato to the kids individual bowls.

The result was fantastic! I don’t know why I waited so long to give it a go. The soup was really simple to make and tasted like it took a lot more work. Delicious dairy-free clam chowder does exist (can you imagine if I had added the bacon, even better I’m sure). I’m happy to be able to add clam chowder into my soup arsenal (we eat soup at least once a week during fall and winter).

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Dairy-free clam chowder served with a side salad or green beans.

This is most definitely what is for lunch today. I love having leftover soup in the fridge, it’s such an easy and complete meal.

Feeling a Little Better

Yay! The soup helped, not a noticeable headache or yucky tummy complaint from the kiddos. Lexi does have her cough going on still, which who knows what that’s about. She woke up upset last night and then was awake before 6 this morning. No bueno.

For lunch we had leftover lentils and veggie soup. Fruits and veggies were pears, carrots, and radishes. As a bonus filler I made peanut pumpkin seed bites. These are super simple to make and taste like a treat. I threw a handful of peanuts and pumpkin seeds, two dates, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, a teaspoon of honey, and a little water into the food processor. Processed until crumbly and formed into little balls (and snuck a few bites for myself!)

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Detox and Recovery

If you haven’t been following along to hear about all the not so healthy food we’ve had recently (here and here) then today’s meals may seem a little boring. But really that is the point. We really needed to recover and get back on track and get all that bad food out of our systems. Both girls have complained about not feeling well. Poor Izzy described the exact same symptoms I get when I eat too much junk food (headaches, yucky tummy, general not feeling great).

While we have a fridge and pantry filled with leftovers from the past few days there was no way I was feeding the girls tamales, chips, or pizza for lunch. We needed some good tummy feel better food like soup. We had soup for lunch and soup for dinner. Two quite different kinds of soup and both very much enjoyed by all.

Lunch:

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Lunchtime soup was very similar to the veggie soup I made Saturday. This soup was inspired by the Detox soup in the Oh She Glows cookbook. As I said before I love the cumin and the seaweed that gets added to this soup. We used green beans and peas to keep it basic.

Dinner:

Since I was already in the cookbook I found another soup to make for dinner. Spiced red lentil and spinach soup. The broth included cumin, cayenne, chili powder, coriander and smoked paprika. Spice match made in heaven. I was hoping for really spicy and added a little more spice to mine to punch it up. When I make a spicy soup for the adults I usually separate some of the soup into a separate pan and heavily spice ours and lightly spice the girls’.

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On the Mend Red Lentil Soup was a success. Next to it we had some raw veggies. For me, I cut up the carrots and radishes drizzled with olive oil and a splash of apple cider vinegar, added cilantro and salt and pepper. A very simple and flavorful side. We ate a lot of soup. Hopefully, we feel a little more like our old selves tomorrow. C’mon soup!

Still Cold….

We underestimated how cold it would be watching soccer this morning and I could NOT get warm. This morning began sunny and promising but the weather changed on our way to the field. It became windy and about half way through the scrimmage it began to rain a little. By lunch time I had still not warmed up and Brian was feeling a little chilly too. While Lexi requested a sandwich because they hadn’t had one in a while (she must have forgotten the sandwich she ate yesterday at the birthday party!) Brian suggested soup. Um, yes soup definitely!

I made my typical veggie soup but changed up the spices a little (adding cumin, turmeric, and a dash of cinnamon) and stirring in nori (seaweed pieces) at the end. I loved the addition of the spices and the seaweed and the girls didn’t seem to mind. I AM warm now!

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Someday I may actually write out my veggie soup recipe. It’s very simple and lives only in my head. I tried to explain to Brian how to make it once so he could do it and it was no bueno since I don’t really measure anything.