Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lemon Tahini Dressing for a Hearty Veggie Bowl

Starbucks makes a new "Hearty Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl" that is amazing. It is my new go-to to-go lunch.

I have started making it at home, with a few small tweaks. I have kids, and so they are more likely to eat it if I chop up the kale pretty finely… they are not huge fans of the texture. Also, I tend to substitute roasted sweet potatoes for the butternut squash, and add peas and white beans. Other than that… it pretty much the same.

I love it. My husband LOVES it. My friend/coworker, who claims to never eat veggies of any kind, loved it. My kids eat it without complaining to much.

When I have tried making it at home, I could never get the salad dressing quite right… until today. Most recipes I have found just use tahini, lemon juice and soy sauce, but the ingredients of the Starbucks salad lists water, olive oil, honey, parsley, sesame oil, and garlic as well. Using the ingredients list and this recipe I found on food.com, I finally nailed it.


Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tahini (roasted sesame paste)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 1/4 cup parsley tops
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
I just loaded all of the above into a one-pint wide mouth jar and then used my immersion blender (my FAVORITE kitchen tool) and blended until smooth and homogenous. Bam. Perfect!

Hearty Veggie Bowl

  • 3 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • broccoli floweretts 
  • roasted sweet potato, in marble sized cubes
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 chopped beets (I usually use the precooked one from Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 can white beans
  • Lemon Tahini Dressing (above)
Toss well, and serve. Keeps very well in the refrigerator for several days… ours never makes it past day 2, so I can't say exactly how long!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kale Slaw

I love it when those "ah-ha!" moments happen in the kitchen. Today, it happened just because I started making dinner before finishing putting away my groceries. And, it resulted in something both healthy and super yummy!  I don't always love kale- it can be bitter, and the texture can be off-putting. But by putting it in the (mini) food-processor to chop up super tiny, it negates all the bad, leaving only a super yummy slaw.

I have been making a version of Paula Deen's coleslaw for a little over a year now, and it is my favorite slaw dressing. I mean, come on. Can you imagine a world where Paula's coleslaw dressing wouldn't be great?! I alter it based on what I have on hand, and this is how it shook out this time. And it was worth documenting.

Kale Slaw
½ cup mayonnaise
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 tablespoon raw cane sugar (or substitute 2 tbs brown sugar in place of coconut/cane sugar)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons "buttermilk" (I put 1 tsp of lemon juice in 1/3 cup milk, and let sit for 5-10 minutes)
½ teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups finely chopped green cabbage (about 3/4 head)
8 cups loose packed kale, very finely processed/chopped (I used a food processor, and it was about 3 cups finely chopped)

Whisk mayo, mustard, sugar, vinegar, buttermilk, salts, and pepper together in a jar/bowl. Top chopped cabbage and kale with dressing and serve.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Organic & Heirloom Seeds (A Mindful Mothers Fundraiser)

Hello Friends!

I give a lot of time and energy working with a group of moms called Mindful Mothers. Basically, our mission is to get parents and kids volunteering in the community together. I wanted to give a quick shout out over here to let you know that our 2014 Seed Sale Fundraiser is underway!

Why do we love the Seed Savers Exchange?
For every $10 collection of seeds purchased, $4.00 is donated to Mindful Mothers! The other $6.00 goes to the ongoing preservation work at Heritage Farm. Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to “preserving our diverse but endangered garden heritage for future generations.” (For more info about the SSE and why Mindful Mothers loves them, click here)

Seed Order Deadline: March 1st, 2014 at 2pm (PST)
Seeds will be mailed out as soon as they arrive! (Only $3.00 shipping and handling)
Seeds Available for pickup in SLO: Starting March 15th

Monday, January 27, 2014

Emotionally Preparing for Birth

I just read an article on Mothering.com that resonated. I went to share it on Facebook, and realized I had a lot more to say than just a status update.

(me in labor, April 24th, 2012, 4:12 am)
The article: "Emotional Prep For Birth: Letting Go"

This was so me… When my midwife asked about how I wanted my birth to go, my response was "I have no idea... I'd like for the baby to come out."

Don't get me wrong… I had LOTS of ideas of ways to birth (both times it felt as if I never.stopped.reading while pregnant) but I no idea how I would want to birth when the time came- bath tub? stool? bed? shower? NO IDEA. I am total planner (I mentally preload the dishwasher before I actually load the dishwasher), and I get BUMMED OUT when things don't go according to plan. A huge part of the grieving process for me after the miscarriage was realizing that all those plans I made would never happen.

I know that if I had planned out how I wanted the birth process to go, I would have done anything in my power to make it happen that way, regardless of how it felt at the moment. And fighting a mental battle in the midst of LABOR? Not a good way to encourage progress.

How I dealt: I wrote lists. Lists upon lists. Writing lists let me feel like I was preparing and planning, but also let me let go of planning the actual birth event. Both of my births were at home, and there is a hell of a lot of stuff you need to have/buy for a home birth. I organized everything, put it all in labeled bins, and then taped the lists/excel spreadsheets to the outside (2 copies- one organized categorically and one alphabetically, you know, just in case my categories were different from someone else's). I planned the crap out of the birth supplies, and planned absolutely nothing for the birth process.

Thats it. I just wanted to take a second to virtually high-five the author and to encourage you (anonymous pregnant woman) to do the same: Read and learn everything you can. Practice relaxing as many ways as you can find. Talk about all of it with your birth partner. Do whatever it is that makes you feel like you can let go.

Prepare for everything. Plan for nothing. 
And remember… your body was built to do this. 

(My birth stories: first and second)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Messy Monday: working from home

This is what it looks like when I attempt to work from home… 

It seems I have a choice… To keep them alive, entertained, and get work done… Or keep the house clean. I will never know which is the better choice.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Family Vacation: Monterey

Because I feel weird about announcing to the world that we aren't at home, I don't typically write about or upload photos to social media pertaining to the fact that we are out of town. And I don't want to be a total #overgrammer when we get back, either. And so, I am returning to write my fifth* (gasp!) blog post of the year… (so much for my resolutions!)

We just returned home from a quick two-night trip up the coast to Monterey thanks to an awesome TravelZoo local deal. The first day we drove up, checked in & got settled at the hotel, and then headed down to Cannery Row. The first photo I took ended up being the only photo taken all weekend that had all four of us in it… to bad it is such a low-res photo!

This is Tank's new favorite pose: his power stance. 

 The second day we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. To say Tank was excited to go is a little bit of an understatement. He LOVED the "ah-quhar-ium"!

His nosed was glued to the glass the entire time… which means that every photo I have is just a silhouette.

Our favorites were the Jellies (Crown Jelly on far-left, and Sea Nettle middle-right), the Sunfish/Mola, and the Hammerhead Shark.)

We went back to the hotel for late naps, and then headed down to a (very empty) Fisherman's Wharf for some Chowder, Seafood, and pier rail hanging (see the goon below, right). 
Our last day, we hung out and had a leisurely breakfast with cartoons in the hotel room, and a long game of hide and seek… which ended *almost* every round with the kids hiding under the sink. Honestly. They spent most of their time in that cabinet. 

Once we were packed up and checked out, we headed over to the Dennis the Menace Park… oh boy did they love it!
Though, I am not sure what they loved more- the actual playground, or the fact that Reb played with them on EVERYTHING the ENTIRE time we were there!

(*I did write quite a bit on other blogs and websites however… primarily for the nonprofit I co-founded, Mindful Mothers, but also for the Birth and Baby Resource Network and all my school stuff. I've been busy!)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our House:: Living Room

Hey, remember that one time that our living room was clean? It lasted a whole five minutes, and I took a photo! I used a panorama app to take a photo from both sides of the room... lets just say that the light was working in my favor in only one direction...
(from the fireplace)
(from the couch)
I love our mantle. It is one of the things in life that makes me feel like a real grown up.  It took me a while to settle on this "mantlescape" but I am pretty happy with it. (Now, I just need to find a plant I can't kill to keep in my orange bowl!)

photo of the dairy lab
This is our cabinet of curiosities (also seen in the far left of the bottom panorama). It is a family heirloom of sorts... it was the glassware cabinet in the insemination lab on my husband families dairy farm! See photo of the lab at right. Being a scientist, I have always been drawn to it, and then when my inlaws moved to a new house a few years ago they didn't have a place for it. I am not a collector by nature, so it sat empty for an entire year. Finally, one day I got so fed up with it being empty, I racked my brain for any sort of "collection" we might have, and the only think that came to mind was books,  so I picked out our oldest and nicest looking hardbacks and put them on display. I have since made a point of looking for "little things" at the thrift stores and swap meets, and I picked up some air plants at the farmers market... though I am not sure that inside a closed cabinet is the best place to keep them!  I also have a 4 year old who hunts for all sorts "treasures"(seashells, sticks, feathers, rocks, etc) so we are starting to look a little less stark and a little more complete. 

Our newest addition is this awesome Royal Board Swedish desk that I got at the swap meet a few weeks ago for.... wait for it... $15! Solid wood, sexy tapered legs, white laminate writing top... I LOVE it. (I just did a quick google search, and a sideboard by the same company sold for 400 Euros... ack! Love it when I score a good deal!!)

Fitting the desk in the living room meant moving one of our arm chairs out of this space, and moving it into the center of the room so that it sits adjacent to the couch. It always felt a little out of place before... you really felt half a room away. Now we have more of a conversation arrangement, and I don't feel like our whole room is oriented towards the TV, which is nice. (Don't get me wrong... I love a good movie/show, but I hate rooms that are set up so that everyone is looking at the TV rather than at each other.)

Oh... and see that awesome thing hanging above the desk?! You'll have to wait to find out about that one. It has it's own post coming soon!

The last little bit of our room that I'd like to share are the carvings we inherited from my husbands great-grandfather, "Eric of Encino". Some we have because we love (the two female forms) and some we have because no one else would take (the slightly too anatomical mushrooms and the "egg of columbus" which I will save for its own post).

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