Bubbles and Chickens

I remember it was sometime in March when things got a lot more real with Quarantine and the social distancing. Ever since then, life has sort of just been a little weird.

However that could simply be because it isn’t what I was?

Either way, it’s different and I’m pretty sure things will not go back to how it was. Things from here on out will forever be a new way.

Now I don’t want to get too deep into all the serious stuff going on in the world, mostly because it’s not why I am here right now.

I have been pretty focused on trying to make recipes and share. I’ve been working on being consistent and even if that means I didn’t share a recipe, I show up to share something. I’m here to be an open book, to share daily happenings, feelings, mom life, food, just basically my lifestyle and keeping it real with you always.

Well today was one of those ordinary mom days where nothing too exciting happened. Outside of the daily visit to go feed grandmas chickens, play with bubbles in the sunshine, hang together as mom and daughter, practice letters, number and of course lots of dancing you. Plus I’m sure you know as a almost 4 year old she is currently as emotional as it gets. Yikes! Ha ha!

This was from another day we visited and fed the chickens/ducks.

I don’t know about you, but having a toddler little Girl is like trying to tame a tornado inside your house or heard a shit load of cats. You just can’t. I mean that light heartedly. Ha.

Do you ever just stare at your kids and remember buying them onesies!? Now I am fighting with her about her clothes matching. What Happened with time!?

Either way, with all the time I have been with Gracie and have not gone anywhere else besides grandmas. I have learned so much about her and she is learning about mommy more too.

Another thing that has come from this staying home with her has been understanding space is healthy. Nobody can spread 24/7 with anyone and not get crazy with one another. Her and I have been non stop for over 3 months and we are both in the know we need to outsource! Ha ha! So what did I do?

I hired a babysitter once a week to give some personal time for myself. This is a big move for me, because I’ve always been sketchy about letting anyone watch her. But this quarantine has honestly taught me and shown me the importance of space for her and I both. I honestly feel very confident in this move and really hope some time can be spent just solely continuing to look for employment of some sort and be able to hire her for more hours.

Having private care can get spendy, but knowing what I can know and feel assured with is worth it to me. She will also get socialized because the sitter is awesome and will be good about that. It’s her cousin.

Anyways it was a great day and I just want to say, “I know a lot of people in the world are feeling a lot of things like anxiety, depression, fear, anger or even confusion. It’s okay to feel that and I would be lying if I said I have not felt all of those through this.”

I just want to encourage you to try to see a paradigm that can allow some positive outlook. How I have been so doubtful that any of this could be good in any way, to shift my mind in knowing good has come out of it. Every single day something good comes from it. We just have to seek it.

Today was a good day even when we spent a lot of time dealing with emotions. She smiled a lot and so did I. We hugged a lot and we both will end the day happy.

Seems so silly to say that bubbles and chickens were and are such a highlight to our days. It’s the little things in life.

Spaghetti sauce that doesn’t just please the tummy

I am not sure about you, but having a meal that is not just tasty, but also eye appealing and nose friendly is major bonus points. It creates a trifecta of perfection in my opinion. Perhaps I’m being overly passionate and descriptive as I’m known to do. Either way I truly believe you should give it a shot.

When I went to share this photo my husband said, “That does not do it justice.”
He had seconds and took leftovers the next day, so I hope it’s that good for you too.

Normally I know a lot of people that can whip up sauces and sautés like it’s just another Tuesday, but lately there have been a lot of firsts for me and making my own sauces was one. To be honest I feel like I am now always trying to learn new sauces or marinades.

I won’t lie, I still am not sure if I put everything I should for the sauce or if it is suppose to have certain ingredients. I’ve never looked up a recipe nor have I received one from someone. I just assumed this made sense and that might sound weird, but I went with it.

The first time I ever made a spaghetti sauce it was just for myself. My husband and daughter at the time were both still consuming meat meals, so things were prepared separately. I used a ton of veggies and even added whole beans. I had no tomato paste and was just winging it. Well the sauce turned out awesome. A little thicker than normal sauce, but I enjoyed it enough to eat left overs the next day.

The second time I made a spaghetti sauce i also did not have tomato paste, so I blended white beans with a dab of olive oil to create a paste. It worked! Vwa-la I had a thickener with some different flavor. The sauce turned out amazing, but the white bean paste threw the color off making it orange. My toddler was not appreciative of the creativity due to her sensitive visual eye for foods. Lesson learned.

This time I made it with a tomato paste and tried to keep things as simple as possible. This time I measured my ingredients in order to share and in hopes to make this a more regular recipe for the family. Gracie was a little thrown off due to the need of a tad bit more water dilution from that paste flavor. I also learned to just use one type of noodle for her. Yes, she is that picky. I tried mixing some chickpea noodles with whole wheat noodles since the wheat ones are her favorite, but the chickpea ones have a fantastic protein amount. Well just a heads up if you have a picky eater, they will be able to tell. Ha ha.

So I will know for next recipe to just dilute by adding an additional 1/3 cup of water. So for now I will share with you the way I made this sauce and add notes for additional water.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can 15 oz can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 oz tomato paste ( half of a can)
  • 2 cups Boca meat. (3 cups = 1 lb.)
  • 👉1/2 cup water ( This is what I used for this recipe, but I suggest you just use a full 3/4 cup for the water portion)
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil or oil of choice
  • 1/4 sweet onion or more if you like
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.
  • 1 Bay leaf (optional)

SCROLL TO BOTTOM FOR BONUS RECIPE.

Here are the spices I used. I would suggest fresh, but I did not have those on hand.
  • First thing you’ll want to do is preheat your pan to a medium heat. Use can use oil, I didn’t need to for sauté on my non stick.
  • Chop up your onion and garlic. Toss in your pan and cook until right before golden brown.
  • Combine your diced tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil and water. Blend in blender for just a couple seconds to combine. I used a my ninja.
  • Add your seasons and sauté into the blender. Blend until sauce consistency. I don’t like chunks, so I blend until everything is well broken down. Also I would encourage using fresh tomatoes! We didn’t have enough to make enough sauce. You could use 3-4 medium beef tomatoes or 5-6 Roma’s and be good to cook those down for 10 minutes or so before blending.
  • Pour mixture back into your sauté pan. Put on simmer, add Boca meat and bay leaf.
  • Grab your noodles and boil those while the sauce warms with the Boca meat and absorbs the bay leaf flavor. We use wheat noodles, but I prefer chickpea noodles for the additional nutrition.
This is the Boca we use for spaghetti and tacos unless we have Impossible meat on hand.

👉Now for the BONUS Recipe. Toppings are a pretty great option to have and I know how tough it can be to have substitutes for condiments without spending a fortune. Violife is awesome cheese, but I will just not spend the money. So here I am sharing a way to enjoy some Parmesan without all any additives.

What you will need:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes.
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
Here is what I used. I got the cashews off Amazon.
Here

Now you might not have a little coffee bean grinder, but that is what I used and I’m not sure what to advise outside of that. Perhaps a blender would work. You want that parm texture and look, so basically don’t over-blend. Use what you’d like and store the rest in the fridge for months in air tight container.

This will feed 4-6 people depending on serving sizing. Enjoy!

C&C Squares (Vegan approved)

Grab and go’s are a popular and necessary option with a busy lifestyle. Between being the busy corporate career profession all the way to having your hands full as a stay-at-home mom. The selection is rather diverse when it comes to a busy life. Which is why I know how important it is it to have those grab and go snacks on hand, but it’s even better when they can be full of nutrition and health benefits.

You see my husband has never been a early breakfast person. He likes to wake up and enjoy some coffee before he digs into any type of meal, but I am the wife that makes him take his vitamins and for good reason. So for him to get those little suckers down the hatch and done with for the day, it’s nice to have a little bar or bite to eat with them. Since he is not a big breakfast person nor does he make a shake on a routine basis. But a bar that can get him a bite to eat with his supplements, feel full with all the chia and flax, plus get all the health benefits. I’d say it’s a must have for us, so I made these and they are EXCELLENT! The flavor is so, so good it will have you reaching for seconds. But be careful, they are filled with that ground up flax seed which is a lot of fiber. You know what I’m saying.

I used to never be a fan of Craisins, but since switching my diet I am a huge fan! I truly believe learning how to use food is key to enjoying it!

Here is what you will need:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Chopped Nuts. (I used raw almonds and walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup Oats. (I used a basis dry oat)
  • 2 tbsp Craisins- Chopped up.
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds.
  • 1/4 cup GROUND flax seed. (I used a coffee grinder to grind up my whole flax seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips. FOR TOPPING.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil (OR JUST USE ONE OIL TYPE)
  • 1 tbsp UNSALTED nut butter. (I prefer almond, but I used peanut for this particular recipe. I was out of almond)
  • 3 tbsp PURE MAPLE syrup

Optional:

Top with chopped cranberries AFTER baked and the chocolate is also optional BEFORE baking. I USED MINI CHIPS BEFORE PUTTING IN OVEN AND FRESH CRAISINS AFTER BAKED AND COOLED.

Pre heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Remember that the chocolate is an optional topping.

In a separate bowl you will want to take ALL of your wet ingredients and combine well.

Then marry the wet ingredients with the dry. Fold and mix together. I used a silicone spatula to be gentle with folding and be sure to combine well.

It will look just like this.

Now you will want to take the combined mixture and pour gently into an 8” pan lined with parchment paper.

Shake the mixture to make it even and flat, then press down to tightly compact it. Top with chocolate if you’d like or Craisins!

Bake 22-27 minutes, I baked mine for 25 minutes. It always depends on our ovens. Once the baking is done you will want to set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Then remove the parchment paper from the dish and allow the bars to cool an additional 1-2 hours until hardened. Cut and serve!

After done baking for 25 minutes at 325 and now cooling for 30 minutes.
Cooled and topped with fresh dried Craisins since I baked them with mini chips!

NOTES:

You can freeze these bars for 1-3 months in freezer friendly container.

You can leave at room temperature for 1-2 months in air tight container.

Vegan Pancakes that the whole family will love!

It’s officially been two weeks that I have managed to keep my husband and daughter on a vegan/plant based diet. Not only am I ridiculously proud of them for being on board, but I am so excited for this to just become their normal.

So many people are sour faced when the word vegan or plant based comes to mouth. But before you knock it, TRY IT!

My husband is one of the most stubborn people when it comes to his food. The consistency and how it visual for him is so impactful that he almost didn’t even drink the smoothie this morning. He said, “Babe, that looks like sludge.” I just laughed and said, “Drink up sweetheart.” He knows I have his best interest. Ha ha. Wife life!

For me personally I feel like breakfast is the most important meal of the day, because it literally sets you up for what I like to call, your go-go fuel.

If you don’t get your go-go fuel, your body reliance to not having what it needs. Allowing you to become sluggish, moody or even feel sick from not getting enough calorie fuel. Which I am sure everyone knows that we need food to go.

Well ever since switching the whole family’s diet and not just my own, it’s been tough to cater to everyone’s taste buds. I am a person who just loves earth and the flavors of foods it offers. My husband and daughter on the other hand are not huge fans, so I have really had to be creative or mask a lot of textures with condiments. It’s working so I’ll take it.

Since I believe breakfast is so important I knew I had to have some recipes to offer that they would find familiar and tasty at the same time. You’d be incredibly surprised at how little change there is in a vegan pancake vs a non-vegan one. I’m also sure there are loads of ways to be versatile for substitutes and create different flavors, but with these I chose just a simple vanilla flavored pancake. Keep it simple and basic for the picky eaters.

First thing you are going to want to do is get all of your ingredients together. I find that this makes things a lot easier.

This is what you will need:

  • 1 cup flour (I used all purpose)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt)
  • 1 cup non dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 2 tbsp melted vegan butter (I used a plant based butter)
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla (use any type you’d like for flavoring)
NOTE: I ADDED ABOUT 1.5 tbsp of extra MILK to the mixture AFTER mixed. (Then mix again lightly after adding more of you want) It allows the pancake to spread a bit better on the pan. I realized this after the first pancake was cooked. Otherwise the pancake might be just a bit thicker. Your choice in how you prefer it.

How to make:

  • Start with mixing your flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  • Then add in the milk, butter and vanilla.
  • Try to not over-mix, there will be tiny lumps.
  • Heat up your non-stick pan on medium heat. I like to add a tsp of plant based butter to add some brown/crisp on the pancake.
  • 1/4 cup per pancake is what I did and let them cook for 3-4 minutes before flipping. You want them to bubble a tad on top and be golden brown.
  • Once you flip, remove after 2-3 minutes.

Dress with your favorite syrup, nut butter and even sprinkle some powdered sugar on top if you like! Fruit always adds a nice fresh touch also.

Chickpea Chicken Burger for the picky toddler

When I mentioned chickpeas my husband got the puke face and when I say that I do not say it lightly. He despises beans/peas of any sort and thankfully my daughter was too busy playing princess.

I gave it a whirl and they ate it! Now there was an additional step that could of really made the difference, but I just didn’t have time before a total toddler hunger meltdown. (You know what I’m talking about parents.)

So as I threw this recipe together I realized I also did not have my food processor anymore or at least I have not been able to find it since our last move. So here went to using the good ol ninja blender…Nope, that didn’t work. Okay, so I moved onto the single cup attachment to the ninja and tried a light pulse. IT WORKED! I got the consistency I was looking for and was thrilled to know we actually can work with what we have. Just some elbow grease and creativity is what I always say!

After the blending was done and the consistency was met, I put everything on a tray with some sprinkled flour (I used all purpose) in order to help form the ball. (The dough will be a tad sticky, so be sure to flour your palms before grabbing)

Once they are formed into ball you can flatten and form.

Once the burgers were done being formed I separated them on wax paper and refrigerated them for 20 minutes. Then I got the pan medium hot with coconut oil, dabbed a tab bit more four on the outside of the burgers to get that crispy outside. Cook until golden brown on each side.

Now after they are done frying on the pan you can bake them at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes to get that firmer texture and crispy outside. This was the step I skipped from lack of time. But I plan to try next time!

Dress the burger up however you like or even lather in a sauce while they fry.

I made one on the side for my husband, because he wanted his sautéd in Franks sauce.

So there you have it, I hope you enjoy! My 3.5 year old and EX meat eating husband ate their entire meal and I bet they would of enjoyed it even more if I firmed up the burger by baking it.


RECIPE

Prep time: 20 minutes/Cook time: 10 minutes/Yield 4 burgers.

  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 15oz Can Chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp All Purpose Flour (use gluten-free for gluten-free version) – plus more for rolling
  • 2 Tbsp Oil of choice. I used coconut oil- Use in pan to fry the burgers.

Chop the onion to liking, chop up the garlic and add to a frying pan with 1 tsp oil of choice and fry until just before they start to brown.

Then you will want to drain the can of chickpeas and add the chickpeas to a food processor with the cooked onions/garlic, paprika, parsley, cumin, freshly chopped up cilantro and flour and blend it into a thick burger batter. Remember I got away with using a ninja cup! Use whatever you got and make it happen!

Sprinkle flour over a baking tray and cover your hands with it as well. Scoop the batter out onto the tray in 4 even sections, roll in the flour and form into your 4 balls. If the batter is very sticky or too wet, add more flour so that it easily forms a ball. Which is what I did a couple time during this process. Sometimes you gotta work with what you got when you want to make it happen.

Flatten your balls into burgers. Place the baking tray with the 4 burgers into the fridge or freezer if you want to firm up for 20-30 minutes. After they are done in the fridge/freezer add 2 Tbsp oil to a frying pan and heat it up until hot.

Add all 4 burgers to the frying pan and fry on each side turning regularly until browned and crispy. I totally eye ball this process with basically everything. Like I had mentioned if you want your burgers extra firm and crispy you can place on a parchment lined baking tray and bake in the oven at 400°F for a further 20-30 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns of choice (I used whole wheat ) with all the fixings!

Enjoy!

Hangry Hannah

Always Hungry.

The Godly Chic Diaries

BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

Less Than More

journey to the little things