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This is a delicious smoothie and It really tastes like carrot cake! In fact, it reminds me, slightly, of the best frozen yogurt mix-in from Angora that we used to order in Boston to be delivered to our front door. Yes, free delivery of frozen yogurt of which I very rarely strayed from the carrot cake mix-in, although cinnamon and blueberries was a close second choice. Oh, those were the days of late nights and delivery service!

Anyway, back to this healthy carrot cake smoothie. I can’t wait for you to try it and tell me what you think! One note, if your banana isn’t frozen, add a handful of ice.

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Makes 3 Good-Size Smoothies
2 large frozen or non- frozen bananas

2 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk

1 cup organic carrot juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raw almonds

4 pitted medjool dates

Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

Recipe adapted from Goop

Dinner Menu, Week of February 9th:
(Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Garlic and herb fettuccine with sage butter and topped with crispy prosciutto; green garbanzo beans with lentils, tomatoes, and olive oil
Tuesday: Egg scramble with Boursin herb cheese and scallions; biscuits
Wednesday: Pan-seared polenta cakes topped with marinara; sautéed eggplant and zucchini
Thursday: Pulled pork BBQ sandwiches; baked fries; sautéed greens
Sunday: Ginger tofu stir fry with Brussels sprouts, green onions, and mushrooms; roasted broccoli

Truth be told, I don’t have much of a system in place when it comes to stir-frying. I add whatever vegetables we have on hand and tend not to really measure the spices or sauces. I will attempt the recipe here, but know a bit of interpretation is fair game.

Ginger tofu stir fry with Brussels sprouts, green onions, and mushrooms
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Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 package firm tofu

1 pound Brussels sprouts, shaved or cut into very thin slices

1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced

About 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Low sodium soy sauce

4 green onions, chopped

Sesame oil

Salt and pepper

Preparation
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Meanwhile, cut tofu into small pieces and add to skillet. Cook until starting to brown.

Add Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, grated ginger, and a healthy drizzle of soy sauce. Stir fry, turning with spatula every few minutes to prevent sticking and to ensure even cooking.

When the vegetables are tender, add the green onions and a light drizzle of sesame oil.

Salt and pepper to taste.

We usually eat this by itself, but it’s also good and more hearty served over brown rice or barley.

2015/01/img_2204.jpg *photo taken at Carkeek Park, 24 weeks and 5 days

I love the surge of energy after the first semester energy drain. I’m thrilled about regaining my passion for being in the kitchen and eating healthful and flavorful food. Oh, there is nothing quite worse than not being able to think of one thing to eat that sounds good.

I love the flutters. The ones that start out so soft like tiny bubbles and then grow into strong kicks in the ribs and gut. These make me feel like so much a part of you, little guy. One of my favorite times of the day is when I lay down in bed to read at night and I can watch my stomach move as a result of your movements…it’s blissful and surreal. I love to watch your big brother talk to you and kiss you and rub you and call you by your name. The name thing really melts my heart. I am looking forward to watching our family bond and grow together.

While this pregnancy has not been an easy one, I still cherish the time I have left to keep you inside where we can be more connected than ever. As we embark on our last trimester together, growing with each other, and nourishing each other equally, I hope for peaceful days ahead as I take the time to slow down, continue to nest, and prepare to be your Mama. You cannot imagine how excited we are to meet you!

Happy last week of January, y’all! 2015/01/img_2151.jpg *picture of snowy evergreens at Steven’s Pass

I know people have mixed, and sometimes strong, emotions about the month of January. Some people fall into the camp of having the January blues…post holiday let-down, short days, cold, and snow/rain. In other words, not much excitement to follow the long Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Eve run.
I actually think it’s the lack of excitement that draws me into this month. I love the quiet following all of the festivity. I love the expanse of a clear and open set of 12 new months on the calendar. I love feeling alright about retreating inward, about staying home a little more often. I will admit that I think January might be one of my favorite months. I’m not sure if this is a new feeling or if this feeling has just surfaced with the passage of another trip around the sun. Sometimes age can make you look at things differently.
As we move out of this month and into the next, I hope the feelings of serenity and quiet remain. I hope I can keep finding some time to write and to be reflective. I think this feels especially important to me this year as I sense the change about to descend upon our lives. A change we are thrilled beyond belief to welcome, but a change nonetheless (and one that is sure to bring a little chaos and a little less time for writing and inward reflection).
Wishing you all a peace filled week as we close out January 2015.

Dinner Menu, Week of January 26th:
(Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna; simple arugula salad
Tuesday: Veggie burgers; baked fries
Wednesday: Egg and cheese wraps; roasted potatoes with green beans and mushrooms
Thursday: Gnocchi with marinara sauce; roasted Brussels sprouts
Sunday: Cauliflower fried “rice”; edamame 2015/01/img_2179.jpg Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

Admittedly, this dish did not really taste like fried rice, so I would be wrong in claiming that it’s a fair substitution. But it is really quite tasty and feels so light and healthy. You could add whatever vegetables you have on hand, or add an additional protein like tofu or chicken.

Ingredients
1 medium head of cauliflower, cleaned and broken into large florets
large glob of olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 cup diced zucchini, about 3 small zucchini
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 sliced green onions
2 large handfuls of cleaned and chopped kale
2 large eggs
1 spoonful coconut oil

Preparation
To make cauliflower “rice”, finely chop the cauliflower florets by hand or in a food processor. You want the cauliflower to look like fairly uniform pieces of couscous or quinoa.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and toasted sesame oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, zucchini, green onions, ginger, and a pinch of salt, and cook until beginning to brown. Next, add kale.

Once kale has wilted a bit, add cauliflower and sauté for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, scramble eggs in a separate skillet. Once the eggs are cooked, add to the vegetable skillet along with the coconut oil. Sauté another few minutes until all flavors have had a chance to mingle.

Recipe adapted from Goop

2015/01/img_2140-0.jpg It’s hard for me to proclaim any smoothie as my favorite, since they are a favorite breakfast of mine and each one I make tastes so different and so uniquely different making the morning a happy surprise. But, I might just be caught saying that this smoothie is at the top of my favorites list, in fact, it might just sit right smack on top of the list. It’s seriously so good. It’s creamy from the banana, but not thick. It’s sweet from the fruit and honey, but not overly sweet. And, the coconut oil adds such a nice depth, giving it a tropical flavor, which adds some sense of warmth to a winter morning. I think this would also taste yummy with a squeeze of lime and with mangos or pineapple instead of pear.
2015/01/img_2139.jpg Green Tropical Smoothie
2 large handfuls of spinach leaves
2 ripe bananas
1 pear, cut into large chunks
small piece (about 1 inch) of ginger, peeled
2 spoonfuls of hemp hearts
glob of honey
large spoonful of coconut oil
several ice cubes
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk

Blend all together.
2015/01/img_2143.jpg This was the first smoothie Jack drank in one sitting (he usually puts half of it in the refrigerator for later on the day). Not only did he drink it in one sitting, he drank it in about 1 minute and then drank some of mine!

Enjoy! And, bottoms up!

I just found these quotes by Jack saved into the draft posts folder and dated January 18, 2014.  Too, too funny and cute not to share and on the year anniversary no less.

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^^Photo taken January 2014 at Suncadia Resort, Cle Elum, WA

 

“Can I watch a little video on CSP?” (otherwise known as PBS)

“Speaking of that, I need to take my socks off and get the stuff out my toes.”

“I wish I was magic because then I could make the baby a girl because I like sisters.” This is particularly funny now since he is indeed not having a sister and I indeed did not have a baby cooking last January.

Sorcerer of Prentice (Sorcerer’s Apprentice)

Stellascope (Telescope)

Jack on not liking my hair to be worn up-
J:”Mama, why do you put your hair up and down?”
M:”I don’t know…sometimes it’s just in my way.”
J:”But why did you put it up so fast while I was eating dinner? Because you thought I would be mad?”
M:”Yeah, probably.”
J:”Why probably? It’s you, so you should know if the answer is yes or no.”

“I don’t think I can ask questions during the play (The Lion King) because I might erupt (interrupt) people.”

“When dada puts me night-night, do you know how many kisses I’m going to give him? One hundred and ninety thirty kisses.”

Oh, the cute things kids say…so glad I keep little random records of a fraction of what comes out of his mouth.  Often, I wish we were constantly recording him speak, so we could listen back and remember it all.

2015/01/img_2104.jpg I hope everyone is enjoying a long weekend. David and I are off until Thursday, which is such a treat and almost a necessary respite from the hustle and bustle (and long commute) of the work week for this tiring Mama. We have been spending our weekend going to soccer, visiting a museum with friends, eating yummy food, making a short movie with figurines, building fires, and watching football. And, we are looking forward to a day of skiing and a date day this week! We are hoping to spend our date day catching an early movie (any suggestions???), having lunch, and then going out for dinner and to the Mates of State concert (one of my Christmas presents!)!

Here’s the dinner menu for the week. I hope it inspires good meals at your tables.

Dinner Menu, Week of January 19th:
(We have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Sautéed eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms in olive oil over linguine; meatless meatballs in marinara sauce
Tuesday: Pinto bean, mushroom, and spinach quesadillas
Wednesday: Crab cakes; arugula, carrot, and radish salad
Thursday: Black-eyed peas with crispy bacon; sweet potatoes
Sunday: Seared Turbot with Lentils, Kale, and Salsa Verde (see recipe below); rice

Seared Turbot with Lentils, Kale, and Salsa Verde
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Ingredients
3/4 c uncooked rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bunch of kale, cleaned, stems removed, and cut into bite sized pieces
3 3. 5 oz. pieces of turbot filets
salt and pepper
1 cup cooked lentils ( we used a canned lentils for this, but almost always have a package of already cooked, fresh lentils in our refrigerator)
Crumbled feta cheese
salsa verde to serve

Preparation
Cook rice while everything else is cooking.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, then add cut kale and a pinch of salt. Sauté for just a minute, or until the kale has wilted, then add lentils. Turn down the heat and cook until the lentils are warmed through.

While the lentils are warming, prepare the pan to cook the turbot. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat, season the fish with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

When the pan is hot but not smoking, add the turbot and cook for about 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Cook time will vary depending on the thickness of your fish—just make sure you get a good sear on the first side, and remove from the pan when it feels firm and bounces back when poked.

Plate rice, then top with lentils and kale, then turbot, sprinkle feta, and drizzle with salsa verde.

Recipe adapted from Goop

Happy Eating!

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