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    EATING CLEAN WITH RAISED REAL

    Location: the kitchen

    A few months ago I was venting to Miles about how I wished there was a deliverable “homemade” baby food service. I have home made all of my babies’ food from scratch since they started on solids. The primary reason for making all my own baby food was in trying to fill a big void in the industry for healthy, nutritious, affordable baby food options, especially for vegetarians like ourselves. I was only able to find one company that didn’t use preservatives, but literally cost so much money, it wasn’t ever an option for us.  So when Raised Real reached out to us a while back and asked if we’d like to partner together, it made perfect sense! Read more

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    PURPLE CARROT

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    I’m literally typing this post with a protein bar in my hand because I didn’t have time to make lunch today. People always want to know what they can bring you when they come to visit you and you’re brand new baby & food is seriously the best suggestion I can think of. Our lives were saved those first few days because of some friendly take-out or homemade meals, but the most unique gift we were sent was by a friend of mine who lives out of state. She wanted to be here to make a meal for us, but since Connecticut was a bit too far to commute, she sent us a meal service. I had never heard of Purple Carrot before, but I was so impressed with their dinners, I had to post about it. My friend knew we were vegetarian, so she figured something vegan would be safe. She was spot on and it was right up my alley. How it works is Purple Carrot sends all the ingredients pre-measured with instructions right to your doorstep. All you have to do is quick-prep and cook. I know it sounds different than a traditional meal delivery service as in you still have to cook but all the thinking is done for you, which is probably the most exhausting part of cooking–planning, shopping, making a list, checking it twice, etc. If you are too exhausted to cook, don’t worry, even your husband can do it. I’m fortunate Miles happens to be a good cook, but I know a lot of my girlfriends wouldn’t let their husbands near the stove with a ten-foot pole, so if that is your scenario, fear not. Plus, I’m a firm believer that memories are made in the kitchen. I would probably let Luca make it if it didn’t involve a prep knife and heat. Anyway, it was all super simple and we had three nights of dinners. We were sent the two person meal, but we had enough for all three of us, one night even four. Anyway, I would send Purple Carrot to anyone, vegan or not. It was delicious and we didn’t miss out on the dairy one bit.

    The first night we had a chopped salad with “buffalo cutlets” on top & finished with some homemade vegan ranch. We had some garlic naan bread on the side which really pulled the whole meal together. This was probably my favorite meal of the three.

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    Night two was Sicilian vegetable and rice gratin which was Luca’s favorite. I loved the flavors of the dish and if you add enough black pepper it’s just the perfect amount of spicy.

    SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNight three was “not your mother’s” meatloaf with roasted zucchini and a side of oregano spiced potatoes. It was comforting and so flavorful. This was the night we had my step-sister over to watch the Bachelorette premiere (let’s hear it for “bachelor nation” ha! We are JoJo fans over here!) and we were able to feed four. If you distribute the portions just right or have smaller children, you can make it work! All in all, we were so grateful to have a homemade meal, I’m sure anything would have tasted good, but I was trying to decide if this was something I would have paid for had we not been gifted it, and the conclusion I came to was yes which is why I decided to share. I know a lot of you are busy like us, and this is a great alternative to giving into your schedule and ordering in. It was healthy and if I were in a pinch a week, I would definitely order the service again. We’re trying to eliminate dairy completely from our diet, and I’d say this was the perfect “push” towards healthier habits. I’m always trying my best. Are any of you vegan? Do you have any blogs or recipes I must know about?! Share them in the comments below!SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

    p.s. this post was not in conjunction with Purple Carrot. I just really liked the service and thought I would share.

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    Cold Brew Horchata Latte

      My husband and I adore this little vegan mexican restaurant in LA called Gracias Madre. We went in February for our anniversary and a time or two before then. Each time has been so gosh dang delicious. I could sing its praises all the livelong day! Last time we were there, we shared a horchata latte for dessert and my mind was completely blown, like who thought of this?! Everyone deserves a horchata latte, let me tell you. The weather here has been super bizarre going from hot & muggy to cold & rainy, so I never really know how to take my coffee, but I feel like iced is always a safe bet. So I’ve attempted my hand at the horchata latte in iced form. Enjoy! Here’s the recipe:

    Iced Horchata Latte (makes 4 servings + can be made 3 days in advance) p.s. this would be a real crowd pleaser at a summer party if you want to double or triple up on the recipe! The ingredients:

    • 1/4 cup brown rice
    • 2 T coffee beans
    • 1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews
    • 1/2 cinnamon stick, crushed
    • 1/4 cup of sugar
    • 4, 1/4 water (divided)
    • pinch of salt

      

     Use a coffee grinder to coarsely grind brown rice. Place ground rice in a large air tight container. Use same grinder to coarsely grind coffee beans–add to container. Also add to the container: the cashews, the crushed cinnamon (I put mine in a zip-loc and rolled over it with a rolling pin a few times), and 4 cups of purified water. Seal the container and place in the fridge overnight.

    Next you’ll make the simple syrup. Put 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a pan and heat on high until boiling. Allow sugar to dissolve stirring occasionally with a whisk (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and place in a heat proof container. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.

    After allowing the horchata mixture to chill overnight, place in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher, pushing down on the pulp to allow all of the liquid to drain. Sweeten to taste with the simple syrup and add just a pinch of salt. Serve over ice. Enjoy!

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    LINKS I’M LIKING.

    so this week has been pretty chaotic, with me finalizing a project i’ve been working on for MONTHS (literally. since january.) & also wrapping up all the christmas gifts & shopping. it might not sound like much, but i’ve been all over the place. i have been neglectful of this little place i feel is my second home & that just seems unacceptable. so here i am, in the midst of the settling chaos, bringing to you links i think you’ll enjoy because i sure have.

    beefless stew from straight up food ::  this has been, by far, my favorite thing i have cooked in a while. the second day was even better than the first. all the flavors had married and sat, and that second day was just magic. a must try. even miles (a carnivore) loved it.

    oh dear drea :: is a blog i’ve been following for a few years now. there’s just warmth and love there, and i really like reading her blog. plus, drea is always posting delicious vegan recipes, like this mac n’ cheese i’ve been wanting to try, and she’s never lacking in good tips for living a green lifestyle. + she’s adorable, personable, and her house is such an inspirational space. case closed.

    this clip from funny or die :: miles and i have had our fair share of disney this past year between our mickey loving toddler and being annual pass holders, miles couldn’t help but share this hilarious “disney couples therapy” spoof with me. if you’re even remotely familiar with the old school disney movies, you’ll appreciate this. at least i laughed out loud, but really, i did.

    guest room essentials by the glitter guide :: this because i love hosting and because it’s the holidays & company is inevitable. make them feel welcome.

    this peanut butter chocolate pie by kevin & amanda :: peanut butter and chocolate were simply meant to go together, and i can’t say no to them. i’m going to try out this pie for an upcoming holiday party.

    what every writer should know by quora :: just some good reminders for those working in the space of writing.

    that’s all i can think of for now…lu is sick with a fever & it seriously breaks my heart. it’s just the worst when your babies are sick because you feel so helpless. he’s napping now, but is due to wake up soon, so off i go for more snuggles and to tend to the makings of some clear soup for him. have a great rest of your weekend & i’ll be back soon!

    [[socks pictured are from here.]]

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    VEGAN AVOCADO TACOS.

    so i promised a recipe for the beer-battered avocado tacos we enjoyed for dinner & as tired as i was, i stayed up to until the recipe was posted and ready to go for you to enjoy this weekend. trust me, even if you aren’t vegetarian, these are a hit with both vegans & carnivores alike.

    my sister and her boyfriend came out & i knew we wanted to eat in, but didn’t know what to make. i feel like when you have guests, you always go to the same two or three dishes to really showcase your best chef’s hand. tacos are a favorite around here, and while we usually go half-ass and cook up some pre made trader joe’s soyrizo, i decided to try and imitate a recipe from one of our favorite restaurants in orange county. i would say they were a total success, based on the lack of leftovers.
    my sister, carlie, and i got busy in the kitchen while the boys played in lu’s teepee. it was so nice to have an extra set of hands for once! now, don’t be intimidated, even though there are quite a few ingredients, the recipe is a cinch to prepare, but tastes like you slaved away for hours.
     quick notes: if you are new to the frying world, make sure you use vegetable or canola oil.
    this recipe is for 4 servings. if you need more than four tacos, just double up on the avocados (you won’t need to make any extra beer batter or cilantro sauce, you’ll have plenty).
    ingredients:
    1 hass avocado
    1 cup panko bread crumbs
    beer batter (recipe follows below)
    cilantro lime sauce (recipe follows below)
    8 corn tortillas
    shredded green cabbage
    diced red onion

    fresh lime wedges for garnish

    beer batter:
    2 cups of mexican beer (i like to use carona brand)
    2 cups of all-purpose flour (i use unbleached)
    2 teaspoons of salt
    2 teaspoons of sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    2 teaspoons of Siracha
    combine all of these ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. you may need to take a spatula to scrape the sides and get all the flour blended in. place in a bowl when finished.

    cilantro lime sauce:
    1 jar of veganaise (i like to use the purple colored jar/the grapeseed kind, but the original will do fine)
    1 large handful of fresh cilantro
    2 jalapeños (seeded)
    pinch of salt
    4 cloves of garlic (peeled)
    juice of 2 limes
    combine all ingredients, with the exception of the veganaise into a food processor and process until combined. next, add veganaise and pulse until your sauce comes together. pour about half into a jar & into the refrigerator to save for another day, and pour the other half into a bowl and place on the table with a spoon to allow guests to ladle their own sauce over their tacos.

    • fill a medium sized pan with 3-4 inches of oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 375 degrees.
    • cut your avocado into sixths.
    • toss your avocado pieces in the panko breadcrumbs.
    • dip your coated avocado into the beer batter and (carefully!) drop into hot oil. fry your avocado pieces in batches, for about 4 minutes. you’ll know they’re done when they turn golden brown in color. use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and drain them on a paper towel lined plate.
    • preheat your oven on its broil setting and wrap up your corn tortillas in tin foil. two tortillas per foil wrap. then place your foil wrapped tortillas in the oven to warm them (so they are pliable) until you are ready to assemble your tacos.
    • lastly, assemble your tacos. layer two warm tortillas per taco and place two to three pieces of fried avocado on your tortillas. sprinkle with shredded cabbage and diced red onion & drizzle your cilantro lime sauce all over (I personally like a lot of sauce, so be as conservative or liberal with it as you’d like, that’s the beauty of these tacos). plate two to three tacos per person and garnish each plate with a few fresh lime wedges. serve your tacos immediately and enjoy!
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    HALLOWEEN HAPPENINGS.

    fall holidays and outfits

    fall holidays and outfits

    happy november! i hope everyone had a safe and sweet halloween! i can’t say we did anything crazy exciting, but we did clean out our garage (such a pain, but so worth it), and we did a quick lap around the block trick or treating with lu. there was such a difference between last year and this. lu was so excited to collect candy door to door and didn’t mind walking one bit. last year, he didn’t really understand the concept and i think we maybe only hit like three houses. it’s amazing to see him grow up before my very eyes. we do all sorts of fun things with him at this age. he loves books wholeheartedly so we took him to the halloween story time event at the land of nod near us, and although he wasn’t much into sitting with legs criss-crossed on the rug, he was definitely into all the neat toys and crafts they had set up. it was a cute event, and i know we’ll be attending another one soon. he also participated in the halloween parade at his day care where we saw countless cute costumes on little ones, although i was pretty bias towards my mickey mouse.

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    ^^^ i tried hard to be the block favorite with izze sodas and reese’s peanut butter cups^^^

    back to our halloween, i’m just so exhausted at this stage in my pregnancy (second trimester energy, where ya at??!) i wasn’t sure what i wanted to do about dinner, i thought about throwing in the towel and just picking something up, but the better part of me wanted to make dinner for my family on such a fun little holiday. i remembered we recently purchased a crock-pot and not a minute sooner did i google a recipe for a crock-pot tortilla soup. i came across this one & it definitely deserves entry into my recipe box. all i had to do was chop an onion, a couple cloves of garlic, and a few jalapeños and everything else i just tossed in the pot and set it to low. i couldn’t believe how delicious it came out considering how little effort was put in. we topped ours with cheese, onion, tortilla strips, and lime, although i’m sure it would be delicious with sour cream or greek yogurt too. another note on the subject, i omitted the chicken being as we’re vegetarian & also subbed out the chicken broth with vegetable broth (i used the vegetable broth with sodium in it being as veggie broth tends to be much blander than a chicken broth typically is–this way you don’t sacrifice any flavor from the substitution). the soup makes a hearty amount as well, so be prepared for leftovers which only get better with time. do you have any go to vegetarian recipes you love cooking in your crock-pot? i’d love to experiment more with mine!

    anyway, hope you all had a great last few days of october, and i hope your buckets were filled with enough candy to last you until next year!

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