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I’ve been lazy about blogging. I’ve been spending the evenings watching movies instead. Lately we saw Wanderlust and 21 Jump Street, both got me laughing out loud in a really dorky way. We also went to see Brave, which isn’t my favorite Disney Pixar movie, but it was fun to go out to the movies, eat popcorn and enjoy a warm summer night, while my sister babysat.

This week, our friends and their son are coming from San Francisco to stay with us. We, obviously, will have a difficult time watching fireworks since we’ve got little kids who are too young to appreciate pyrotechnics. So we decided that we would have a picnic with the kiddos instead. And the beauty of a summer picnic is that food and dessert can be super simple and still be so, so yummy.

I plan to make these with Gabriel’s help (he’s interested in “helping” these days). I love the idea of making two bite watermelon stars just with a cookie cutter!

And maybe even these without his help with the same cookie cutter. I love rice crispy treats and I make them the classic way, straight from the back of the box.

Also, remember Michelle’s post last year on the Fourth of July? Also this crafty little popper that you can totally make for the Fourth too!

I’ll make sure to take lots of pictures so I can at least share those.

In the meantime, I can share this little snapshot of our summer so far. Very trashy, blow up pool in a ghetto back yard, but my babies don’t seem to mind too much.

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I love waffles. We all do. We sometimes get the frozen kind, just to have in the freezer, until it dawned on us–why can’t we make our own waffles and freeze them ourselves thus avoiding all the weird additives that are in store bought waffles. Done and done.

But something we do a little differently, we use  Pamela’s gluten free pancake mix. I swear to you, this stuff is good and you won’t notice that it doesn’t have wheat and you’ll feel better for it–swear. It is quickly becoming a staple here at chez Hawken. If you aren’t down for it, here’s a basic waffle recipe that you can totally freeze and use later too! I’d recommend doing double the batch (whichever way you chose to do it) so that you have a good little supply of waffles!

We also do things a smidge differently from their recipe.

1. We use melted butter instead of oil.
2. Sometimes I use milk instead of water (we rarely have milk, but we did this time, so I used it).
3. I also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the batter.
4. Lastly I separate the egg whites and whip them until they’re stiff, and gently fold them into the batter making the waffles nice and fluffy.

I grease the waffle griddle with melted butter. I’m also over conservative when I pour the batter onto the griddle, mostly because I hate cleaning up batter when it spills over the sides. As a result, I often have some incomplete waffle squares.

Once they’re all done, throw them into a freezer safe container (a ziplock bag totally works) and throw them into your freezer and they’ll be good when you’re ready for them.

When you’re ready to eat them, just heat them up in the oven or in a toaster, top with some almond butter for extra protein and bananas. Or maple syrup and butter. Or ham and eggs. Or whatever your heart desires. They’ll be amazing, swearsies!

Remember my other idea for easy breakfasts for toddlers? I’m thinking of trying that recipe out with Pamela’s pancake mix!

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a snack time

May
2012
16

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I read the book Bringing Up Bebe a few months ago and thought it was a pretty fun and interesting read. A lot of the tips in it were intuitive, as many parenting books tend to be, but it was still helpful to read it in print. One of the things the author mentions is “snack time” and how American kids tend to get snacks all the time, especially to basically shut them up.

I’m TOTALLY guilty of that, but mostly just in the car. Gabriel has ALWAYS hated being confined to his car seat, and he will scream bloody murder in the car, so I’ve taken to the habit of giving him raisins in the car. I buy raisins in bulk, add in some dried cranberries and mix it all up in a ziplock bag and keep it in the car and whenever he starts to wail, I just take his snack cup and fill it up. It’s awful. I’m always nervous that he will choke on one and I’ll have to make some crazy move on the freeway, but honestly, I have no idea how to keep him quiet so I can drive safely/sanely.

Anyway, Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bebe, writes that French kids only get food four times a day, breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner. Snack time is usually around 4pm. When we stay close to home, we’re pretty good about keeping that schedule. I mean, it makes perfect sense to me.I particularly liked snack time on this day because the colors were so pretty. I try to make sure his foods have lots of different colors, firstly because it’s fun to look at, and also, typically, if your food has a lot of color, it tends to indicate that it’s good for you.

Beige food=boring & not so good.

If anyone has any suggestions about figuring out how to solve my car ride problems, short of noise canceling headphones or playing a constant loop of elmo song, I’d really love to hear it.

Check out another thing I learned in that book, here. And a car ride playlist I created, here that doesn’t help with him screaming, but whatever.

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a green smoothie

Apr
2012
30

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eat, make | 1 comment

We’ve gotten into the fantastic habit of making green smoothies in the morning. They’re a really fantastic way to get lots of nutrients in one delicious cup. Unlike juices, smoothies are whole foods that are blended smooth so you still get all the complete nutrients that are often lost when you juice things. Juicing, as you might imagine, really retains only the juice and all the sugar minus the fiber.

We basically use whatever is available when we make these smoothies. For this particular one, I threw in two bunches of lettuce, one avocado, two large leaves of basil, two cups of raw kale, a cup and a half of frozen blueberries, a cup of strawberries, half a frozen banana, two table spoons of superfood blend, and for the liquid, I used unsweetened cranberry juice.

In making smoothies, we always incorporate these basic elements:

Fat. The good kind. This might be coconut meat (get a whole coconut and use the coconut water as your liquid), generous heaps of almond butter, or avocado (my favorite additive as it adds a lot to the texture).

Greens. This is typically kale, but sometimes its lettuce, spinach or if you’re hardcore, I’ve also had a lambs quarter smoothie which was umm, not as yummy.

Fruit. This is typically to make it sweeter and more palatable, so we use frozen berries as they are low in sugar, full of flavor and antioxidant rich. Frozen (as opposed to fresh) berries are also much cheaper to buy organic, and as texture doesn’t matter much for this, frozen is perfect. Bananas are very high in sugar, but they will add to the texture and add a lot of sweetness with very little banana. When our bananas are overripe, I peel them and stick them in a freezer safe container and save them for smoothies!

Liquid. You need something to help your blender mix it all up. You can use water, almond milk, rice milk, coconut water, aloe juice or like in this one, unsweetened cranberry juice–good for your bladder and adds a yummy tang!

Supplements. If you want it to be over the top in nutrition. We use superfood blend or spirulina. But there are other great ones to add too, like flax! It’s really up to you!

Blend it all up and watch your whole family get into it. I guess our smoothies aren’t green as much as they are brown from the dark antioxidant rich ingredients and powders!

He loves it. Also, please don’t call child services on us for that crazy purple bruise on his forehead; learning to walk is dangerous business.

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a foodie family

Apr
2012
19

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I’m not sure if you gathered this, but Aidan’s family are foodies. The real deal. They’re amazing.. I love them and enjoy eating their meals SO much. They are incredibly intelligent especially when it comes to health and food. Each and every one of them is talented in the kitchen (and in other places too).

His mom’s homecooked meals REALLY, TRULY deserve the statement of “my mom’s ______ is the best in the world.” His dad’s unending knowledge of health in relation to food will astound you. Under his guidance, I was on a strict diet during Gabriel’s first 3 months of life and my little boy’s gassy stomach was never a problem. His eldest brother, Palo, started a beverage company and also created last year’s number one beverage of the year, Zico’s Chocolate Coconut Water. His sister Iona creates the most amazing grain-free, sugar free cakes which will make your mouth water. That really undersells her abilities in the kitchen, because she can whip up the most delicious meals and make it look so simple. Anastasia, another sister, has two young kids for whom she cooks almost every meal for and they just lap it up. I don’t know Tansy that well (she lives far away), but I hear is not unlike her siblings in her abilities in a kitchen. Additionally, Tansy’s and Scott’s (her husband) little girl Stella has some strict dietary needs and their entire family has risen to the occasion and her condition has vastly improved! Aidan, who cooks most of our meals, puts so much mouthwatering love into his dishes and is just so generally talented at cooking (and eating), that he has singlehandedly managed to make me like love foods that I have convinced myself ALL MY LIFE that I detested. And then there’s Jonathan. Jonathan, who I have always had a sweet spot for, is Aidan’s younger brother, and he is a very talented chef, a real chef, not just someone that you call a chef, but is really a cook.  Jonathan’s meals are full of meticulous detail, bursting with flavor and are works of art, to boot. 

I’m plugging Jonathan in this post specifically because he has started a business, I believe in him and his talents and I think you will too! Check out his website, Jonny Cooks. He caters (in the bay area), but if you don’t live there, there is good news for you still. He has just begun a weekly subscription of foods that he prepares at home and will ship out to you wherever you live (in the United States, of course). We just recently ordered maple bacon, vanilla extract (so excited to use these two ingredients in baking), and homemade sausages! His prices are very reasonable and he uses the best available ingredients. If you want to join his mailing list (and I urge you to), you can do so here. Every week features a new list of available foods, and sometimes tips and tricks about how to use them!

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a family meal

Apr
2012
19

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I don’t think it is a mystery to anyone who has followed this blog that I don’t like to make a special meal for Gabriel. I’m not always successful, but we always try to have him eat whatever we eat. Michelle will be able to tell you more, but in light of Lucas’s diabetes :( he has to now eat a special diet. When someone in your family has a special diet, more often than not, the entire family falls into the same or a similar diet.

I think that having everyone on the same diet is really beneficial, for numerous reasons: you don’t have to make a special meal for them; nobody feels left out of something “yummier;” you’re all in it together; and typically, everyone gets healthier meals! It’s win-win! I was talking to my friend about this and she told me about this website, One Family One Meal. It is a fantastic website chock full of yummy recipes that the entire family can eat together! It has weekly recipes, provides you with shopping lists, and best of all, you can specify all your dietary needs in the All Recipes tab!

I’m not a huge fan of substitutions, like gluten free bread or faux vegetarian patties. For the most part, I don’t think they’re as yummy as the real deal, but also more importantly, they’re often filled with excessive ingredients (salt especially) that seek to imitate a flavor or a texture that isn’t naturally found in that food group. I was looking through the recipes and a lot of them are pretty easy and full of ingredients that you can find in a regular grocery store (no obscure ingredients from secret health food stores needed!).  I think you might enjoy it, and at the very least, you might find some new inspiring recipes for your entire family to enjoy!

From top to bottom, left to right.

Two Bean Soup with Green Chard. || Black Bean Soup. || Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts. || Broccoli Chicken Stir Fry.  || Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil Oil and Parmesan Crisps. || and seriously, how much simpler and yummier can you get? Mixed Berries with Whipped Cream.

Lots of different options and combinations! I hope you give it a browse!

Also related, check out my posts on family meals, herehere and here.

Another special post about food coming right up. :) Happy Thursday, the weekend is almost upon us!

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do, eat, get | 2 comments


I hope you have a great weekend!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Easter yesterday. We did absolutely nothing, except had a fantastic walk with Gabriel’s Auntie Thea and his cousin Frankie Ling and then I laid on the couch watching Julie Andrews movies–amazing. Perhaps next year we’ll do something exciting like a hunt.

We shared the following post as a guest post on ohdeardrea, but I wanted to share this with you all just in case you didn’t get a chance to see it on there. I figured this is a post that would work anytime, but it was especially relevant for Easter. If you don’t hard boil your eggs, but instead blow them out (here’s a video on how to do it) what are you to do with your left over eggs? You can’t possibly waste them, so make a frittata!

I roughly followed this recipe from Alton Brown, but I didn’t use ham and I added tomatoes and onions. It’s a pretty basic recipe and you can use whatever you’ve got on hand to make this following his basic steps.

Chop up all your ingredients. A helpful hint for chopping up onions is to cut them by an open flame, like a stove. I didn’t know this one until very recently and it works every single time. 

Pop the entire thing in the oven and you’ll get a super yummy, super simple frittata!

Have a good Monday! And if you need a quick giggle, check out this tumblr blog which had me totally giggling and also cowering in fear. Gabriel had his first real tantrum, like threw himself on the floor tantrum–over a snack cup.

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an oreo alternative

Mar
2012
08

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How good are oreos?
I like to eat them all different ways: split open, cream first, cookies last; the entire cookie in one mouth full; split open, cookie first then cream with cookie last; crumbled up in ice cream (aka cookies and cream ice cream); and the conventional way, in several little bites of cookie, cream and cookie. They’re amazing! They’re also 100 years old this year!

Did you know that oreos had a healthy cousin alternative? They’re called raweos! They’re made with almonds, coconut, carob, cashews, vanilla, honey and cinnamon, and they’re PRETTY good. They’re no replacement, but they are pretty yummy in their own right.

I’m not so super down with “healthy” alternatives because it gives the false impression that you can eat more of them “guilt-free,” but since these are pretty nutrient-dense (coconut, cashew and almond), they’re filling you don’t really want to eat too many of them. I gave Gabriel a little taste after his dinner tonight (he ate sardines for dinner–what a strange kid!) and he LOVED that little bite. Find them here or at your local health food store. 

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We always try to have Gabriel eat whatever we eat. It’s really important to me that he doesn’t have to have some special meal, just for him. Sometimes it doesn’t really work out that well (raw arugula salad really isn’t his thing) but most of the time he eats whatever we give him.

This meal is a staple in our home. It is really simple and, more importantly, really yummy. I mentioned the Thomas Keller Bouchon cookbook in this post about my favorite French stuff. This chicken is straight out of that cookbook, but the same recipe can also be found here.

We (usually) don’t roast an entire chicken.
We do just roast individual thighs.
We don’t use butter; this recipe lists it as an ingredient.
We do use dijon mustard, you should too.

We pair it with a simple arugula salad. This particular night, we put apples in our salad. Gabriel doesn’t eat salad yet. He feeds it to Chloe.

You will love this chicken. Swearsies.

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