Feeding Rocco

image1-2Hello loves!! We are back with another installation of Feeding Rocco! Hooray!! I love sharing all the fun, and sometimes not so fun, things we feed our mostly vegan toddler. With the exception of organic eggs and some fish we are raising this boy as a mostly plant-based nugget. I know a lot of people wonder if I'm some crazy controlling food mom and I guess the answer is yes… to a certain extent… At this stage in the game I feel I'm allowed to be! My 18 month old doesn't have the control over what's being cooked and served in our household,  just the same as the toddler of a meat eating family! He only knows what Mommy and Babbo feed him. Now I know this will change eventually and he will possibly want to try non-vegan foods and all I can do is support him and help him make well informed choices about his food. But if you're asking if I'm gonna ever get him a happy meal the answer is a resounding hell no! But at some point, if he wants some birthday cake or to try meat I will do my best to keep my emotions out of it. On to the food, you will notice there was a theme going on this week: starch and peas. He likes what he likes.IMG_1340Jimbo's Macaroni Salad with added Peas. This pasta salad was meant for The Captain, Rocco ate all of it for lunch! I added some extra peas and he went to town.

IMG_1341Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Green Beans, and Corn. Shockingly he ate most of this! Towards the end the green beans were more fun to throw, but he loved the mashed potatoes and corn mixed together, just like his Nana! Note: I tried to give him leftovers the next day for lunch and he wanted nothing to do with it. Oy vey!

IMG_1342Daiya Mac n Cheese with Peas: My personal favorite boxed vegan mac n cheese. Tastes a bit like old school Velveeta without all the dairy and questionable ingredients. Loaded it up with frozen peas and boom. Dinner.

IMG_1343Fried Rice with Peas and Avocado: Rocco probably eats this a few times a week. Kid LOVES rice. So we fry it up with a touch of coconut oil and a splash of tamari, mix in frozen peas, and top with avocado. Sometimes I'll put in some onion chopped finely.

IMG_1344Annie's Mac n Cheese with Peas: This is my least favorite boxed mac n cheese, luckily Rocco could care less. It's a carb covered in a sauce. That's all he needs to know. Again, more peas. I usually alternate with broccoli, but right before the move I didn't want to buy more groceries, so using what I had!!

IMG_14332 Eggs Over-Hard, Avocado, and Tortillas: At our favorite restaurant in SD, Coffee Cup! We both got the same order every time and our favorite waitress knew it by heart. Rocco kills this breakfast which is a common one at home too! Sometimes instead of tortillas, I will make him toast with a bit of coconut oil on it!! But he usually always starts the day with a banana as soon as he wakes up, I swear this kid is part monkey! We buy bananas by the case load!

IMG_1525Almond Butter Toast with TJ's Veggie Straws: Quick late lunch/afternoon snack! Simple, easy, and filling. I may have eaten one or 20 of the veggie straws myself. So tasty. So salty. Mmmmmm.

Well, there you have it folks another week of Feeding Rocco! Stay tuned for more posts as we really test what this kid will eat, it's amazing what, even in a few weeks, can develop in a child's palate and what they are willing to try!

#PinterestFail

IMG_2674So I write recipes, I rarely follow them. I feel cooking is an art, a little of this, some of that, etc. Which would explain why I'm a TERRIBLE baker, like seriously, the worst... Well, I found this yummy Forks Over Knives recipe for stuffed potatoes, supposedly a plant-based take on deviled eggs. Sounded like the perfect Easter snackie. So about that...

Fail #1. I forgot Dijon mustard and The Captain had to do a 9 o'clock grocery run. He got himself a boozy reward, so don't feel bad for him.

Fail #2. As I gathered ingredients on Easter Sunday I realized I had forgotten THE most major ingredient when making hummus. Chickpeas. I forgot the mother flippin garbanzo beans. What. The. Crap. I did, however, have a can of great northern beans, so I crossed my fingers that they would work.

Fail #3. I completely misread didn't read the instructions for the hummus at all... I threw everything in my vitamix and started blending. I wasn't supposed to add everything. The green onion were supposed to be mixed in after the hummus was smooth.

Fail #4. I added water too quickly after I got impatient adding a tablespoons at a time and I ended up with white bean hummus soup. COME. ON.

Sooooo I went and sat on the couch. Maybe I cried a little, so what?! I'm pregnant I cry 2-3 times an hour. Hormones. Am I right??? And I thought "okay how can I turn this around??" I had baby red potatoes and a delicious white bean green onion "Hummus" with a dressing-like consistency... And it came to me. Potato Salad. Boom.

So here's what I did oh-so-wrong, but tastes oh-so-right!

Hummus:

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added white beans, drained and rinsed

2 large cloves garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped green onions (4 to 5)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

6 tablespoons water

Throw it all in the blender until pretty and smooth.

Tatos:

12 small red potatoes, diced

Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish

1 green onion, finely sliced, for garnish

Boil potatoes until fork tender and drain. Once dry, mix with hummus and garnish with paprika and green onion!

Hope you enjoy my fail!!!!!

All things San Diego, Part II

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetSo here it is folks… My giant list of all things food in San Diego! The Captain and I are passionate about food and we pride ourselves on being the people you text when you are looking for a new spot to eat! Note: I should say I am a vegan, so every single restaurant on the list, while it might not be a vegan establishment, does offer vegan options! But I assure you, this is not just a list for veggies!!! In fact, out of the 26 spots listed, only 5 are entirely vegan or plant based! Meat eaters, rejoice! I have been compiling this list for weeks!! I am actually salivating after editing this post… I need some tacos… or noodles… or pizza… or falafel… or sheesh, I don't know, for love of GOD GET ME SOME FOOD! FullSizeRender_1 copyBest Coffee Drinks: Cafe Gratitude

Weird answer, I know, but the coffee beverages at CG are among the most original and delicious I’ve ever tried. Their Mocha!? Shut. Your. Face. Their teas and other libations are equally tasty!!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Breakfast: Coffee Cup

Not only is the best breakfast in San Diego, but also my favorite restaurant. The rosemary potatoes will change your life. I order the Papas Loco, no diary, add tofu, with corn tortillas. EVERY. TIME. I ate here the day I went into labor and I’m pretty sure it was the jalapeños that did the trick... We eat here... A LOT. Needless to say, the servers have my order memorized and I love them and I will miss them.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Pancakes: Moncai Vegan

These pancakes will change your life. Change it. The Captain stands firm that these are the BEST pancakes he's ever eaten in his life!! HIS ENTIRE LIFE!!! You non-vegans will be like WHAT THE HELL!?! I don't know how it's possible to get such giant, fluffy pancakes with no milk or eggs… I don't know how the chef does it, but he does and it is spectacular.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Vegan Breakfast: OB's People Co-op

Not only is this the best value in town, these biscuits and gravy are the things dreams are made of! With an entirely vegetarian market beneath, this small kitchen whips up some tasty and simple food that will leave you satisfied and happy! I wish I lived closer to it because I would eat there daily… seriously, I'd do it.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset[my beloved avocado roll from Lil' Tokyo]

Best Sushi: Ebisu Sushi Lounge

I love this place. We found this when we first moved out because they had a small, but interesting vegan sushi list, but we quickly became regulars. Their fish is always fresh and prepared in unique ways! The place is rarely packed, but always buzzing and they serve food way past your bed time. [special shout out to Little Tokyo in Carmel Mountain, this place makes me happy. Nothing super special, but it's yummy]

Best Cocktails: WhisknLadle

Fancy and unique cocktails in a fancy and unique setting. Boom.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Chinese: Golden City

So after years of looking for a decent Chinese restaurant we stumbled upon Golden City and it is authentic and delish! With a completely separate veggie menu, it was a clear winner for me! Their salted garlic string beans are a thing of beauty!! Note: the portions are MASSIVE and definitely for sharing!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Döner: The Kebab Shop

Now, maybe you are thinking, come again!?! But if you have never had a döner you are in for quite a thrill! It's like a Mediterranean burrito and it tastes like heaven! I order the falafel diner, no garlic sauce, add spicy hummus, add fries or rice depending on my mood. [3/19/18 I've been informed that the rice is loaded with butter. True Vegans, skip the rice!] The wrap is soft, almost like a thin naan bread… It is delicious! There are now locations all over San Diego, so no excuses get thee to The Kebab Shop!

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetBest Salad: NaPizza

The superfood me salad with tahini dressing is literally a thing of the gods!! Their pizza and [always vegan] soup are both magic, but I don't stray from my favorite salad! With locations in Little Italy, Hillcrest, and 4S you are covered!

FullSizeRender copy FullSizeRender Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset[delish offerings from Cafe Gratitude. Top to bottom, I am: warm-hearted, awesome, & surrendering]FullSizeRender_1Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset[Trilogy Sanctuary, just being awesome. Top to bottom: Nachos and bfast crepes.]

Best Healthy Eats: Tie Cafe Gratitude and Trilogy Sanctuary

Cafe Gratitude makes the list twice. I've eaten at the LA eatery a handful of times and at the recently opened San Diego locale 23,293,090 times. Slight exeggeration. I love love love everything on the menu. It's vegan plant based goodness and I'm gonna miss them like WHOA. And then there's Trilogy, a newer find, located in La Jolla on a rooftop with angels and fairies. OR flying aerobatic yogis. Close enough. The menu is small, but heavenly. I love their buckwheat crepes and the nachos!! OH THE NACHOS!!! Both of these spots are winners, for vegans and non-vegans alike!

Best Thai: Amarin Thai

My buddy Christina took me to this restaurant years ago and I fell... hard. Their Tom Yum Soup is AMAZING. They have an entire separate veggie menu that’s even fish sauce free! And good news North County, Siam Nara in Mira Mesa and Nok in Scripps Ranch are pretty much the same menu from owner Suree! Winning.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset[Top to bottom: salad pizza from Luigis and a vegan pie from SDBC]

Best Pizza: Tie Pizzeria Luigi and San Diego Brewing Company

So Luigi's was an early find, after watching a San Diego episode of triple D Guy Fieri swore he'd eat it off of a flip flop, we had to try it. To my delight, I found out that they will sub vegan cheese and even make vegan calzones. The calzones are AH-mazing. But even more surprising is their cheese-less salad pizza. This pizza is the bomb. And dude, all of their cheesy pizzas look amazing!! Oh, oh and when I was very pregnant and wanted to get another slice, the so sweet pizza maker gave me a slice on the house. Two thumbs up. A more recent find is San Diego Brewing! This spot has a crazy amount of vegan offerings along side all of your typical pub grub. They have vegan hot wings AND vegan pizza!!! Who knew!? It is the lightest crust and I just can't say enough good things. The marinara is delish and the toppings are fresh. It's so yummy.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset[vegan mezzaluna and the special from Civico1845]

Best Italian: Bencotto

Yummy, fresh Italian food in the chicest building. I love this place. Their arrabbiata sauce and zucchini soup really make me happy. A newbie that I’ve only tried twice is Civico1845, but it is really shaping up to be a winner! An entire authentic vegan menu, um dreams coming true.

Best Indian: Delhi Kitchen 

This is a hole in the wall if ever there was one, but Delhi Kitchen in Carmel Mountain is a killer find! It's super inexpensive and the family who runs it is so nice!! Their Chana Masala is spicy, full of flavor, and oh-so-good.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Ramen: Underbelly

Holy. Giant. Bowls. of. Soup. Batman. This spot is legit. They now have 2 locations, but if you can try out the original in Lil Italy it is totally worth it for the experience. The veggie ramen with truffle oil is lip smacking good!

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetBest Tacos: Don Carlos Taco Shop

One of the first joints we found when arriving in San Diego. Don Carlos is a hole in the wall if ever there was one! The owner is full of personality and with a tag line like “what would Jesus eat?” this place has to rock! And with multiple vegan options this joint is sure to please. We used to pick up food and bring it to the cliffs and watch the sunset with the rich people! Highly suggest it!!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Frozen Yogurt: Paradise Yogurt

Best vegan yogurt ever!!! They always have at least 2 vegan flavors and it constantly rotates. Their toppings are genius and they have the chillest employees. Love this spot.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Vegan Junk Food: Veggie Grill

The Buffalo Bomber has comforted me many, many a night... or day... or mid-morning. I ate here, nearly, twice a week when I was pregnant. The whole menu is awesome. And I'm gonna tell you right now, you will be surprised that vegan "chicken" tastes, well, pretty much like chicken!

Best Spot for a Group who can't Decide: True Foods

This is the perfect restaurant for a group of folks who just can't get their shit together. It's deceptively healthy, but will please a variety of palates! You can get a bison burger, a seasonal squash pizza[amazing], or [my favorite] the Mediterranean chopped salad. There's an option for the gluten intolerant, vegan, or meat eater in your group. And on top of all of those reasons, simply put, it's a delish and thoughtful menu!

Best Meal with a View: Cordiano Winery

Our amazing neighbors suggested this spot a few years ago and we have been frequent visitors ever since. It's nestled atop some impressive hills in Escondido, but you feel like you are in another world. The Italian owners are the sweetest and their pizza is out of control yummy! The wine is okay, but what you are really there for is the view! I could have sat there for hours!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBest Beach Front: Ki's Restaurant at the Beach

I love this spot in Cardiff. It's the utmost in chill dining spots! We love to go for breakfast and I just love all of their healthy options and there is nothing that can beat the view!!

Best Date Night Spot: Alexanders on 30th

Now there isn't much for a vegan to eat, but the few dishes you can have are totally delish and worth it for the wonderful and sexy atmosphere! It just feels… romantic!? The truffle mac n cheese is a favorite among my friends!

Best Brewery: Ballast Point

We’ve been to a few breweries and this is both mine and The Captain’s favorite. It’s not as touristy as Stone, but is on the larger scale. But with a super tasty menu, DELICIOUS beer, and a beautiful locale. It’s a winner.

I ain't got time for that sh-- stir fry.

photo 1I love stir fries. I had them all the time when I was a kid and I totes see why!! They are packed with veggies and take 5 minutes to make. I have very little patience to cook these days, but am conveniently hungry all the time, so these are the perfect quick meals. I still opt for very quick cooking veggies that taste delish crunchy. Other quick options are thinly sliced red onions, thin asparagus stems, shredded kale, mushrooms, etc. You get it. I serve mine with jasmine rice because for some reason pregnancy has made my desire to eat brown rice non-existent. For the perfect rice, I always go just a little shy of the package ingredients. I loathe mushy rice. Like ugh, that's just day ruining. photo 2Feeds 2 decently hungry folks 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable stock to cook veggies

Big ole handful of snow peas, trimmed

1-2 handfuls of mini bell peppers equivalent of say 1 small bell pepper, sliced

1 can of baby corn, eat approximately 3 handfuls while prepping food

Sauce

1/4 cup Tamari

1/2 cup veggie stock

1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

Optional

Sambel Oelek or Garlic Chili Sauce [I like to add mine as I go]

1-2 tablespoons of crushed cashews

So add a tablespoon of veggie stock to a pan and add snow peas. Cook until bright green and still crunchy, a few minutes. Add another tablespoon of stock and add the peppers, cook for just a minute or two. Then throw in the baby corn. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and pour into the hot pan. Cook on medium high until the sauce is thick and delish. You can then top with cashews or some spicy sambel oelek. If you want to have fun with the sauce you can add a touch of honey for a little sweetness or mix in a tablespoon of smooth almond butter for a delish nutty flavor. Seriously, the possibilities are endless.

photo 3

Mind Blowing Pesto Pasta

photo 4 As promised, here's my most absolute favorite way to eat the yummy pesto recipe I posted a few weeks ago!!! This is my go-to dish when I need to serve an army and I want to sneak feed them healthy, plant based goodness!!! What they don't know won't hurt them… Is that how that saying goes?! Dude, that's awful. But in the case of this delish pasta, the fact that there is not a stitch of cheese or oil should and will quite literally blow your mind. Ha, people use the term literally too much… but again, with this pasta it's so healthy and yummy, be warned, your head could explode. Okay, here's how easy this shiz is.

Step 1. Cut a hole in the box Follow and make this Pesto Recipe

Step 2. Boil Water

Step 3. Add your favorite pasta [I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's brown rice fusilli, so good and totes gluten free] to boiling water

Step 4. Add chopped green beans and asparagus to the boiling water party for the last 5 minutes of the pasta's cooking time

Step 5. DON'T OVERCOOK YOUR PASTA

Step 6. Drain pasta and veggies, leaving just a tablespoon or so of cooking liquid with the pasta

Step 7. Stir in pesto

Step 8. Enjoy like a Boss!!!

 

Presto Pesto Magic

Blissful  Happenings  Pesto Shoot - 38 Blissful  Happenings  Pesto Shoot - 42 Blissful  Happenings  Pesto Shoot - 45 Blissful  Happenings  Pesto Shoot - 46 Blissful  Happenings  Pesto Shoot - 49photos by Kelsey Erin Photography

I am a real deal Italian and I love being Italian. LOVE. IT. I was insistent upon keeping my very Italian last name when I got married because it was so important to me! My people are the creators of some pretty epic food, I mean pasta is magic! Literal, magic. This pesto is super easy and will have even the pickiest of eaters swooning! It's great with pasta [recipe to follow], veggies, breadsticks, or even a replacement for mayo! The possibilities are endless!!! This oil-free version is seriously guilt-free! So enjoy, and enjoy often!

Makes enough to coat 2 pounds 'o' pasta!

3 cups loosely packed basil

2 cups loosely packed spinach

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 huge garlic cloves

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of veggie stocks

a few solid pinches of salt to taste

Blend in a blender until smooth. Yep, that's it. AWESOMENESS. I know, right!?

Recreating Perfection

photo 1 photo 2Last year I attended a friends wedding in Maryland and whilst in the DC area we were able to hang with some of our east coast peeps. One morning we ate at Busboys and Poets and my life forever changed. I had the most unbelievable and delish tofu wrap. It was seriously one of the best things I've ever eaten. I dream about it. I actually think about planning trips to DC just so that I can go and eat this thing again! Suuuurisly, it's totes that good. So after 8 months of craving, I had to try and recreate the tofu-y, faken' bacon-y, cheeze-y deliciousness. Note: this took a hot minute to prepare, so give yourself an hour if you want to enjoy this awesomeness. My wrap didn't turn out exactly like my dreams, but it was pretty tasty! The "bacon" was so super sweet and maple-y and the potatoes were a brilliant side. Feeds 4

Breakfast Potatoes

5 medium/small red potatoes, chopped small so they cook faster and crisp up easy

3 tablespoons of olive oil**

1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

a few pinches of salt

pinch of cayenne [optional]

Place potatoes evenly on a baking sheet, mix well with oil and spices. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees, then bump the oven up to 450 and cook for 10 more minutes to crisp those suckers up!

Maple Bacon Seitan

2 seitan slices [if you can only find chunks than, of course, use those]

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon of liquid smoke

1/4 teaspoon salt

Let the seitan soak up the maple goodness while you are working on your potatoes! Then sauté in a hot pan until cooked through. 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Be sure not to overcook or you will end up with rubber faken-bacon, I know something about this. It does NOT taste good. Chop into bite sized pieces for the wrap!

Tofu Scramble

1/2 block of tofu, pressed and then smushed with a fork

3 tablespoons red bell peppers, diced

3 tablespoons red onion, diced

handful of spinach, cut into strips

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup of diaya cheddar shreds

quarter of a lemon

cooked setian bacon

flour tortillas

I cook this up just like my tofu scramble. I used a touch of oil to start the onions because I was desperately trying to recreate the meal. Once they are soft add red peppers and spinach. Once spinach is wilted add smushed tofu and all spices. Finish off by adding the chopped pieces of seitan and the cheese mixing until melted. Place into tortillas, and fold in the sides and roll up into a yummy burrito!!

**Yes, I used oil!!! I don't cook with much oil in my house. I find it pretty unnecessary in daily life, it's basically fat and calories that you don't need in your life. I know plenty of people have plenty of opinions on healthy fat, blah blah. As an informed human, I find that it should be treated, like a cupcake, as an indulgence. Here is a list of research that is truly eye opening!**